Web Surfing for Master Gardeners

The subject of creating a website for Dona Ana Master Gardeners first showed up in January 2006. There is now a site hosted on the NMSU servers and under development by NMSU Communications. I have updated the information about New Mexico Master Gardeners on the web. Some old sites are gone and some new sites have been created.

I have also updated the websites of other Master Gardener programs.

New Mexico Master Gardener web sites.

New Mexico Extension Master Gardener Website
This is the statewide site created and maintained by NMSU and the Extension. On it, you will find a section (password req.) for Master Gardeners. John can provide you with the password. The 2005 revision of the Master Gardener Manual is posted there along with four distance-learning presentations that were originally presented over the Centra system and are now formatted for Windows Media Player. What else could be included that would be useful and informative for all NM Master Gardeners? I would like to see the monthly newsletters and reports of all county groups posted here. Seems a simple way to get informed about what other NM Master Gardener groups are doing.

There are other sections on this website that are not password protected with some content. From the Programs Section you can link to all of the NM County Extension web pages. There is sometimes information about Master Gardeners posted on the County Extension web page, but it is not consistent. Seems to me that the site is under developed and underused, but has potential. Would this be a place to answer many of those repetitive hotline questions? Could this site be made user friendly for the gardening public? The University builds some physical restrictions into the site.

New Mexico Master Gardeners
This New Mexico Master Gardeners web site is not hosted on a NMSU server and has a lot of information about Master Gardeners and gardening in New Mexico. It also has links to the 15 NMSU Extension web sites that have MG programs and to other county MG web sites. Want a history of New Mexico Master Gardeners? Go here! Want to ask a gardening question using email? Go here. There is a lot of information on this site. How does or could it serve Dona Ana County Master Gardeners and residents?

Gardening From the Ground Up
This site contains most of the Master Gardener training materials for reading and download (without a password). There is also a link to a Gardening History Timeline (www.gardendigest.com/timegl.htm) and to the Santa Fe Master Gardener Association (www.sfmga.org)

The Albuquerque Area Extension Master Gardeners
This site is self-explanatory and contains a monthly garden activities calendar, common garden questions and answers, a daily weather report, agriculture news and links to other useful gardening sites.

Dona Ana County Master Gardeners
The site contains information about becoming a Master Gardener, application forms, time sheet form and some of the monthly newletters.

Santa Fe Master Gardeners Association
The Santa Fe Association site contains a bulletin board (www.sfmga.org/smgbull.htm) for group and community gardening related events. It also lists some of their current projects. It is hosted and maintained by the Master Gardener Association.

Sandoval County Master Gardeners
The site contains information about becoming a Master Gardener and about scheduled Master Gardener programs.

Otero County Master Gardener Association
The site contains information about the 2005 MG Conference and local gardening information. It is hosted and maintained by the Master Gardeners Association.

Master Gardener Web sites for other States

I have visited only a handful of the 19,000 or so Extension Master Gardener web sites that are returned by a Google search. A few of them are noted here. I have included some discussion about why I brought them up, to demonstrate ways that you may look at a site to determine what is important or useful. The question that I ask when looking at all of the MG sites is who are the users and are they being served effectively? This listing of 94 Master Gardener websites in the U.S. is a handy page to surf from.

Texas Master Gardeners
There’s a lot on this site, but material is well organized and easy to find. The Problem Solvers is an interesting approach to using information and I found the concise descriptions in Plantanswers quite useful.

Los Angeles County Extension Master Gardeners
Their Common Ground Program is focused on food growing and nutrition, but their monthly gardening tips, also provides extensive information on ornamentals.

The California Backyard Orchard Web – UC California, Davis
Although not a MG site, I include it because of the superior organization of a wealth of information. I wish all the information sites were this thoughtfully designed and organized.

Purdue University Garden Publication
I include it here as an example for organizing information that is used by both MG’s and the public.

Some Considerations:

  • Do you currently use the Master Gardeners and NMSU Extension websites for information and communications?
  • Is it important to you to have a website that serves Dona Ana Co. Master Gardeners?
  • What kind of content would be useful to Master Gardeners?
  • What kind of content would be useful to the public?
  • What knowledge, time and talent would you contribute to creating and maintaining a MG website?

Darrol Shillingburg
Master Gardener - September 2007


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