Greetings. I want to take this opportunity to say that I am so looking forward to coming on board as the TN Master Gardener Coordinator and working with your great team of Master Gardeners and MG Coordinators across the state. It is an honor and a privilege to be joining both UT Extension and the Plant Sciences Department working in the area of residential and consumer horticulture. This is an exciting time to be Extension Master Gardeners because there are so many avenues for outreach, education, and research addressing human health and well-being, environmental stewardship and sustainability that can enable us to impact the state and nation.
There are many reasons that I am excited to be joining the UT Extension team. One is that Extension has been such a positive influence in my upbringing, education, and career. I grew up in rural West Virginia on a cattle farm, but it was 4-H gardening projects that really introduced me to horticulture. Those backyard gardens, greenhouses, and landscaping projects soon led to a horticulture major and the opportunity to spend my career working at the intersection between plants and people.
Through my education and work experience, I have had the opportunity to learn scientific and practical aspects of horticulture and spend time working with many excellent Extension practitioners to share this information with the public. These connections between science, practice, and education are really the heart of Extension, and the most important reason that I am so looking forward to my new position. Whether delivered to agricultural professionals or residents and consumers, the sharing of appropriate, timely, and scientifically valid information is always crucial. That really is the mission of the Extension Master Gardener program, which all of you are already carrying out. So, it is my hope that as I join the team, we can expand upon the great work that you are currently doing through TMG to enhance horticultural knowledge and benefit both residents and communities throughout TN. I am looking forward to meeting you all over the next few weeks and months and truly cannot wait to get started!