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Connect Extension Chat: Virtualizing and Social Distancing Horticulture and Master Gardener Volunteer Programs

Virtual Chat

Click here to join the chat at 1 PM ET on July 23rd. 

Each month, the eXtension Foundation will host a virtual chat here on Connect Extension, available to all Cooperative Extension professionals. The purpose of these short virtual chats is to highlight best practices and innovation throughout Cooperative Extension. Each session will be a different topic area. 

For July 23rd, 2020, we will be discussing Virtualizing and Social Distancing Horticulture and Master Garden Volunteer Programs and how Extension is reimagining these events virtually and/or with social distancing. We invite Cooperative Extension professionals to join us to discuss their own best practices and how they’ve innovated to deliver Horticulture and Master Gardener programs virtually!

This conversation will be hosted by John Porter, University of Nebraska - Lincoln and Stephanie A Mathias, Master Gardener Program Coordinator, University of Maryland. 

To participate, Cooperative Extension professionals will need to have a Connect Extension account. To register your free Connect Extension account, click here

@John Porter is the urban agriculture extension educator for Nebraska Extension in Omaha.  His work is a mix of home garden, urban farming, and food systems programming and engagement both in-person and (now more than ever) online. His recent virtual offerings include a 4-part synchronous course in home hydroponics and “Food Chat” virtual informal “coffee house” discussions for farmers The first eight years of his career were in his home state of West Virginia, where he was a county agent and county Master Gardener program coordinator and also served on the social media team for the national EMG program.  He is a long-time contributing member to the Garden Professors and is an eXtension Impact Collaborative facilitator.  

Stephanie Mathias is the Maryland State Coordinator for the University of Maryland Extension Master Gardener Program. She graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a B.S. in Environmental Science and is currently working on her Masters in Landscape Architecture at University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to joining UME, She worked as a Conservation Technician for the National Aquarium’s Field Conservation team. She leads volunteer and program management activities for the Master Gardener program in Maryland.

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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