eXtension and eXtension Master
The discussions about providing web resources
for Master Gardeners got me to wondering about what is available
on the national level through extension. Turns out that there is
a larger picture developing for extension and for master gardeners,
as well as new ways to access those resources by both Master Gardeners
and the public. You can tap into that resource if you have an online
connection and at least a beginning knowledge of how to use the
internet. What is the resource, what does it offer and how do I
is an educational partnership of more than 70 universities to help
you improve your life every day with access to objective,
research-based information and educational opportunities. (from
eXtension provides information to
you any time, any place, any format and on any Internet-ready device.
eXtension is available to you 24/7/365,
whenever you need to make decisions to improve your life, to answer
life questions, or to learn more about any topic available.
eXtension has the national shared
strength of the Land Grant University System customized to focus
on your needs where you live.
eXtension's content is dynamic and
evolving, offering you timely information on topics that matter
eXtension complements and enhances
the community-based Cooperative Extension System of the land-grant
universities, a resource you now have at your fingertips.
You can only grasp the full extent of this by going to the website
and exploring it for yourself. I found it easy to navigate, extremely
useful, as well as always available. But, is it local or regional
and does it serve the Master Gardener population as well as the
public? The answer is both yes and no. It is regionalized at the
extension office and staff level, but not well integrated into local
MG groups. I think the mechanisms are in place to integrate the
local MG groups into this effort, depending on the interest and
participation by individual Master Gardeners and extension agents.
It appears that state coordinators play a key role in connecting
local groups to the national level.
The section of the website that serves our particular interests
is Garden, Lawns and Landscapes (link). The section is divided into
categories by subject each containing further divisions, including
one for Master Gardeners. I have searched several of the categories
and found them all rich in content and easily explored. Accessing
New Mexico information is more difficult, but you can link to our
State Master Gardener Coordinator, and get the monthly calendar
for Albuquerque Master Gardeners.
I tested out the “Ask An Expert” function with a question
regarding specific information about local sources of compost, and
received a personalized answer from Daniel Culbert, Okeechobee County
Extension Horticulture Agent, IFAS/ University of Florida. He wrote
a general answer and referred me to one of NMSU Hort. Publications
about compost as well as two other references. So, you too can get
your most complex questions answered by an expert. The first level
of response is to search their database for relevant answers, but
if there is none; questions are referred through their response
The “Ask An Expert” service is set up to serve the
public, and designed to include Master Gardeners as the “Experts”
within their local area of knowledge. It would have been most exciting
if my question came from a Dona Ana Co. Master Gardener.
You can get daily information sent to you through the web by using
the RSS feed subscription service of the website. I subscribe to
the Gardens, Lawns and Landscapes RSS feed and receive new additions
to that section every day. The content is relevant and an excellent
way to continue learning.
There is also a section of the website called “Self Learning”
which is intended to serve as an online-extended learning portal
for the eXtension service. At present, it ranges from “no
content”, in Gardens, Lawns and Landscapes to full content
in “Horses”. There are plans to use this function to
facilitate some Master Gardener training at the national level.
So, if you want to easily access the resources of 70 land grant
universities, have new information delivered to you daily and have
an expert answer your most pressing gardening questions then link
up with the new eXtension.
till next time,
Darrol Shillingburg – March 2008
Doña Ana Extension Master Gardener