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The Latest Dirt - May 2023

Light Up the Night

By Liz Rottger

2023-05-TLD-EmmaClass Grad
First as a UC Master Gardener, then as Association President for two years and finally as UC Master Gardener Program Coordinator for six years, Emma Connery has been a transformative force in CoCoMG, working tirelessly to create new opportunities for UC Master Gardeners to get involved and impact their communities. As she always said, “members expand our mission.”

She was tremendously instrumental, for example, in the expansion of CoCoMG into West and East County. I remember running with Emma an extension cord some 500 feet from a nursery school, across a playground and street, to the cash registers at a community garden without any electricity so we could have our very first West County Great Tomato Plant Sale in 2014.

She wanted us to be everywhere, to be visible and relevant. She worked with Doug Freier to go from zero to more than 30 Ask A Master Gardener tables at Farmers Markets throughout the County. She supported Janet Miller through thick and thin in the early days of developing our first demo garden at Our Garden.

With the help of Kathy Mendenhall, Emma re-designed the volunteer training curriculum in 2010 to tie it closer to the real-life questions about gardening that were coming in daily to the Help Desk. That training produced the remarkable Class of 2010, some of the most dedicated Master Gardeners we have ever had.

She has taught us all so much—much more than just the chewing mouth parts of insects and the wonder of aphids’ honeydew. She once told me, “Find a need and fill it! Don’t wait to be asked! When something’s not working, fix it. Fix stuff!” With Emma’s help, we suddenly saw there were so many opportunities for us to light up the night.