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The Latest Dirt - Dec 2022
  • Program Coordinator Dawn Kooyumjian Welcomes Class of 2023
    Program Coordinator Dawn Kooyumjian Welcomes Class of 2023

    by David George

    I was honored with the opportunity to interview Dawn Kooyumjian, the Coordinator of both the Alameda and Contra Costa County’s UC Master Gardener programs for this special Class of 2023 issue. Dawn shared her warm welcome to our new trainees, her fascinating background, and her vision and program goals for the next several years.

    “First of all, I’d like to welcome our new Class of 2023! But congratulations are a bit premature (she laughs). The reading, homework, labs, and final presentations are meant to be both educational and challenging. We will celebrate in March. But I have seen that this class brings fantastic experience and potential to our program, and I can’t wait to see all of you certify. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed the training so far as much as we’ve enjoyed delivering it. You’ve been provided just a taste of the wonderful opportunities to come.”

  • New Volunteer Trainees in the Garden
    New Volunteer Trainees in the Garden

    Our new Master Gardener trainees!

  • When You Meet Them
    When You Meet Them

    Be sure to say hello to our wonderful new group of trainees, the Class of 2023. They have taken the time to introduce themselves to us with, what must be for them, painfully brief bios, but nonetheless packed with information about their lives and their passions. There are 25 new trainees—20 from Central County, 3 from West County and 2 from East County. We enjoyed editing these bios and we think that we speak for all of us when we tell them we look forward to meeting them in person in our projects, Demonstration Gardens, and perhaps at our upcoming holiday party on December 12th. Each year, a new class of volunteer UC Master Gardeners re-invigorates our organization and helps to expand its mission. They are our seed corn with the potential to produce in the future even larger and more diverse harvests in the communities we serve. We also thank Fletcher Oakes for all of his beautiful portraits of the new class. Editors

    Sangita Baxi, (Walnut Creek, 2 years) Growing up, my brothers and I would help my mother in the outdoor garden—weeding, mowing grass and trimming hedges, planting vegetables in a tiny plot, and digging holes for her prized rose bushes. Every spring was the same. We moved every few years and the latter half of my childhood was spent in the Midwest. After I’d been on my own for a bit, I realized I missed working in the garden and set up a container garden on the balcony of my apartment and grew herbs, flowers, tomatoes and eggplants. I was hooked! 

  • Executive Leadership Team Welcomes New Class
    Executive Leadership Team Welcomes New Class

    Welcome to the Class of 2023,

    As an Executive Leadership Team Member I work with two projects and two projects in waiting.

    • Communications: this project serves as the organizational hub for many of our outreach activities: our website, YouTube channel, social media, The Latest Dirt - our internal newsletter and News to Grow By - our public newsletter. If you like taking photographs, writing articles, filming and editing videos, posting to the blog, organizing email lists, coding web pages, sending e-blasts, etc., we have a job for you!
    • Volunteer Support: this project was recently renamed to describe the myriad of activities performed to make your volunteer experience easier and more productive. Volunteer Support hosts our social events, orders badges and pins, publicizes volunteer opportunities through our Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! newsletter, surveys our volunteers skills & interests, manages our volunteer management system (VMS), communicates with our pool of Honorary Master Gardeners, and more. We need people with a multiplicity of skills and interests. Join us!

  • Classroom Training Team
    Classroom Training Team

    Thank you to Class of 2023 Classroom Training Team