Welcome to all of you who are new members and to our returning members of the Marion County Master Gardener Association! As we start a new year I am, as usual, in a contemplative mode thinking about all the events of 2016 and looking forward to the great things 2017 will bring. The personal loss of a beloved friend and the ongoing long and media overloaded presidential campaign left me with an unsettled feeling by the beginning of November. Fortunately, the unusually long warm fall let me work longer than usual in the garden which gave me respite from the myriad of thoughts tumbling through my mind.
Near the end of the year I started hearing on Facebook about a temporary interactive public installation in Alexandria Virginia called “be the light”. The concept was simple, take that thing that shines inside you, write it down and then attach it below a candle. It started me thinking, of course, what is that light that shines inside me both personally and as a Master Gardener volunteer? How can we, as Marion County Master Gardeners, shine our light individually and as an organization to help provide solutions to local or statewide social, environment and economic issues? Have we, as an organization, decided on some high priority initiatives that we can work on together? Issues such as ethical gardening, green waste and water quality, decline of wildlife and pollinators, and nature deficit disorders in children are all here in our backyard. Social issues such as poor nutrition, food insecurity, and social isolation are in many of our Indianapolis neighborhoods. A presentation at last June’s State Master Gardener Conference showed me that a number of our Master Gardener colleagues in other counties are far ahead of us in addressing some of these very pervasive and serious issues. These are all issues that Marion County Master Gardeners can help address!
As your 2017 President, I’m hoping this year that 1.) as an organization, we can explore and perhaps partner with a local organization to help make lives better for our neighbors and our wildlife and 2.) the programs for this year will address some of your personal gardening educational needs on a more advanced level. We used a new tool in 2016, an online survey, to give the board a better sense of what members are interested in and how they feel about the content of the monthly programs. The resulting feedback was very helpful because as an organization we have a mission not only to increase our members’ knowledge of gardening practices but also to provide information to the community on current and timely gardening practices.
I wish all of you the very best in 2017 and hope we can all grow together towards a better gardening world.
2017 Marion County Master Gardener Association President