More than 100 Georgia MGEVs met online on June 19 to start the 2020 Regional Leadership Conference (RLC) series. It was great to “see” so many of you! Thank you to James Morgan, ANR Agent in Dougherty County, for being a most gracious “virtual” host. He welcomed everyone to the RLC by sharing two projects for which Dougherty MGEVs have provided leadership, including the Rosalyn Carter Butterfly Garden in Plains, GA, and nutrition teaching gardens in Dougherty County schools. MGEVs had great questions for James, such as how to work with the Park Service and the plants in Mrs. Carter’s garden. Here are some of the plants in the garden:
- Acmella repens (Creeping Spotflower), also known as Spilanthes americana (Opposite-leaf Spotflower)
- Agastache ‘Black Adder’ (Anise Hyssop)
- Armeria maritima (Pink Thrift)
- Asclepias incarnata (Pink Swamp Milkweed)
- Asclepias perennis (White Swamp Milkweed)
- Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)
- Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
- Fothergilla gardenii (Fothergilla)
- Malus (Crabapple)
- Rhododendron spp. (Native Azaleas)
- Rudbeckia fulgida (Black-eyed Susan)
- Salvia guaranitica (Blue Salvia)
- Salvia leucantha (Mexican Sage)
- Vaccinum (Blueberry)
- Veronia gigantea (Giant Ironweed)
- Veronica (Speedwell) (NOTE: sold to us as good for butterflies, but we now think not)
If you have further questions about the Rosalyn Carter Butterfly Garden, you can email James at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We started the RLC series on communication with a theme of connecting. We easily connect over plants. Case in point: many of you joined in the conversation over what is happening in your gardens right now. From your early comments, it sounds like gardens are bountiful and pollinators are active in gardens all over the state!
We explored how people are connecting through communication right now during the COVID-19 pandemic. MGEVs and agents have been innovative in the past three months, sharing horticulture and gardening information in many new ways.
We discussed the social media trend, noting that in the last 10 years, communication has increased dramatically via platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat. It is powerful to realize that social media platforms can connect us with new audiences, as each platform tends to connect with specific groups of people.
Given the increased interest in gardening during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more important to share and promote Extension’s research-based resources to the public. As MGEVs, you write, present, and post much gardening-related content. We talked about the value in using correct logos and images to connect with University and boost name recognition and credibility as well as the inclusion of accessibility statements on our program materials. We also reminded each other of our UGA MGEV Program policy to have Extension staff review any content prior to release.
During the RLC, we also visited a bit about connecting with each other. Representatives of GMGA shared some of their resources for connecting with other MGEVs in the state, and we revisited the multiple connection points for the Georgia MGEV Program.
Our time together was short and sweet. Based on the feedback, those who attended appreciated hearing from others and exchanging ideas. We look forward to seeing you at our next RLC on August 21, 2020. Same time, same place!
PS: Advanced Training credit has been entered into MGLOG for MGEVs who attended this two-hour session.