Hero Image

The Latest Dirt - Nov 2022

Who’s Shining the Light?

By Lori Palmquist

There’s a hidden treasure in Contra Costa County. No, it’s not buried deep in a cave in the hills or in the lair of a fire-breathing dragon. It’s spread out over the whole 716 square miles of this county. It’s hidden in plain sight, sparkling here individually or glowing there collectively, depending on where and when you turn your gaze.

Yes, the treasure is alive! And the gems are doing wonderful works that change people's lives. They’re enriching and satisfying the vast thirst for knowledge of those who want to understand and practice living on this Earth in a fulfilling and sustainable way.

You are the gem, my friend! Whether you’re …

  • Staffing a booth at a Farmers’ Market
  • Giving a lesson on pollinators at a community garden
  • Supporting teachers and parents at a local school
  • Giving a Tuesday talk at Rivertown
  • Handing out free seeds at Festival Latino
  • Solving a fruit tree dieback mystery at the Help Desk
  • Presenting a webinar to 500 people on Zoom
  • Transplanting tomato seedlings for the Great Tomato Plant Sale
  • Or performing any of the other countless CoCoMG activities

You are that precious gem who helps the treasure of UC Master Gardeners of Contra Costa County shine.

But gems don’t shine in the dark. They need light directed on them to be appreciated. Who is shining that light?

The Communications project is shining the light. We’re working in the background to support you and to call the public’s attention to your events and offerings. We send out the announcements that draw hundreds of people to monthly Speakers Bureau webinars and weekly garden talks. We cultivate and manage a contact list of close to 9,000 interested parties who said, “Yes! Sign me up!” We produce the seasonal public newsletter in English and Spanish and the bi-monthly internal newsletter that you’re reading right now. We post to our Facebook pages in English and Spanish, and Instagram.

We also edit and manage videos for our YouTube channel with (currently) 36 videos, over 900 subscribers, and more than 18,000 views. We’re helping the Help Desk team breathe new life into the blog with their bi-weekly articles and over 600 subscribers. We promote the GTPS with gusto, helping to draw unprecedented numbers to our annual sale. And, of course, we supply up-to-date information about most of your programs and offerings on our website, https://ccmg.ucanr.edu/.

We’re not shoveling mulch or turning a compost pile. We’re calling the public to attend, witness and benefit from your good works. Our work is done in the background and is exclusively electronic (thus hidden from view).

Our work looks more like this:








than this:








I’d like to take this opportunity to express my deepest appreciation for the volunteers who are the lifeblood of this wonderful Communications project. Their dedication and cheerful responsiveness just make my heart sing. Thank you Marilyn Saarni, Simone Adair, Hedwig Van Den Broeck, Robin Mitchell, Vicki Lee, Titania Buchholdt, Greg Letts, Cristina Kerekes, Fletcher Oakes, and all the writers and copy editors who have contributed to the powerful written words and images we regularly churn out internally and publicly. Your efforts are what make this hidden treasure of a UC Master Gardener program visible to the world, and I am eternally grateful.

My heart is bursting with pride every time I witness what we collectively bring to the citizens of this county. And those of us working in the background love being able to shine that light and call the masses to partake of this gift that you provide for the people of this county and beyond.

So the next time you receive an email announcement or newsletter from CoCoMGMedia@ucanr.edu, give us a smile and a wink. We could very well have sent it in our pajamas!