Grant County Extension Connection

Episode 2: Dr. Eduardo Servin, NMSU Master Gardener Program Manager

December 10, 2019 Jessica Swapp, Eduardo Servin Season 1 Episode 2
Grant County Extension Connection
Episode 2: Dr. Eduardo Servin, NMSU Master Gardener Program Manager
Show Notes Transcript

Dr. Eduardo Servin the NMSU Master Gardener Program Manager talks about what the Master Gardener Program is. He lets us know what the requirements for becoming a master gardener are, what they do and what his goals and vision are for the program. We talk about how important the Master Gardener Program is and the impact that they have on the extension program and their local communities.

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Jessica :

Welcome to the Extension Connection podcast. The Grant County Cooperative Extension Service is here to help connect you with research based information about economic development, energy and water, f arm a nd ranch, yard and g arden, natural resources, health and well being, and o ur very popular youth development program 4-H. I'm your host, Jessica Swapp, the 4-H and agriculture agent here in Grant County, New Mexico. W e a re part of New Mexico State University's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Science. And w e a re here to serve you. So let's get started. Hi everybody. Welcome to the Extension Connection podcast. I'm here today with Dr. Eduardo Servin. I'm going to mess that up several times, I'm sure. He is the master g ardener manager for the entire state of New Mexico. So welcome to the podcast, Mr. Servin. I guess let's get started with a little bit of background about you, where you're from, education, anything you want to share with us?

Eduardo:

Well I'm a , I'm from El Paso, Texas and I actually currently still live there and commute to NMSU, which is where I work out of, did my undergrad at Oregon State , uh, did a master's in San Diego and finished up my PhD at NMSU in educational administration.

Jessica :

How long have you been the master gardener manager?

Eduardo:

Not very long. I started in May of this year.

Jessica :

May! All right! So you're a newbie!

Eduardo:

I'm a newbie.

Jessica :

All right! So how did you get into being the master gardener manager?

Eduardo:

Well, certainly I had to apply for the position, but prior, but prior to that , uh , I actually went through the program myself, but I did it in El Paso, so I came out of the Texas A&M system, and so , uh, that's what was interesting to me and that's why I applied for the position.

Jessica :

So you're a master gardener yourself?

Eduardo:

Yes ma'am.

Jessica :

That's in the state of Texas? Yes. Okay. Is their master gardener program similar to the New Mexico master gardener?

Eduardo:

They're all, they're all pretty similar. Uh, I believe all 50 States now currently have master gardener programs and , uh, they're typically run out of whatever Aggie school, the agricultural school of the state, obviously New Mexico would be New Mexico State in Texas, It's, it's A&M a , you know, Arizona, i t's U of A, Colorado, Colorado State and on and on and on. So most of the programs are similar in the way they're structured and in the, u h, requirements that they ask of the interns, and those a re the, people t hat first sign up to become a master gardner. So they're all pretty similar.

Jessica :

Oh, okay. Is gardening an interest of yours personally?

Eduardo:

Yeah. Yes it is. And of course it would be of anybody that goes through the master gardener program, that's obviously a big interest. There's different areas that might interest the different people with me. It was tomatoes and vegetables is the reason why I wanted to learn more about it. And so , uh, so yes, it is an interest of mine. Uh , I am by no means an expert. Uh , but you know, people usually get into this to learn more about gardening and, and it's a service also to the community.

Jessica :

Let's hear a little bit about the master gardener program in New Mexico as a whole. How many different counties have master gardener programs?

Eduardo:

Well, uh New Mexico State in the state of New Mexico as you know, has 33 counties. They don't all have master gardener programs, and of course that's something that I was probably hired to do is to increase the, the coverage and chapters if you will. And of all the master gardener programs in the state of New Mexico, most of them are going to be located in, as a county agent from Lea County aptly told me in the Rio Grande corridor. So where, all the population centers are at , so, you know, down in Las Cruces all the way up North to, you know, Los Alamos . And so , uh, that's typically the area where they're focused at. And you know, we, you know, we need to work harder in , in offering , uh , these programs outside of that Rio Grande corridor, so we're talking about, as I said, Las Cruces , Albuquerque, which is Bernalillo County, Valencia County, which is Los Lunas . And then we have a Sandoval , uh , County, which is the town of Bernalillo then we head up to , uh , the Santa Fe area, you know, Los Alamos, Toas, San Miguel which is Las Vegas, Raton, which is Colfax County. Pretty much those are the, that's the location of the current existing chapters. And we're obviously here in Grant County trying to see if we can get something going in Silver City. And I'll be going shortly to the reservation up in Gallup , McKinnley County and Cibola, to see if we can get something going in those places.

Jessica :

Very good. So what are your goals, your vision, because you're brand new, you're, you're getting to kind of fix things, start things, all that kind of stuff. What's your goals and vision?

Eduardo:

Well , uh , the short term goals , uh, certainly is to , uh, continue to support the programs that are existing that , you know, and, and the big programs continue to support those big programs. What are the big programs? Uh , obviously they're are going to be Albuquerque, Sandoval which I said is Bernalillo and Santa Fe's , one of our big ones along with Toas and Los Alamos. That's the short term to continue to support their , uh , those in a little bit more mid term goal is to expand programs as I said, maybe to Silver City and, and Gallup and uh , you know, other, other , uh , areas maybe on the outside of the Rio Grande corridor.

Jessica :

I know here personally here in Grant County, we've had a master gardener program in the past. It kind of went away. Um, and so we're, we're trying to figure out here if we can bring it back, if there is an actual true interest in being a master gardener, you know, with the understanding of what being a master gardener is. So that leads me to my next question. What do people get from being a master gardener? Why do it?

Eduardo:

Well, initially, obviously it would be people that are interested in learning more about gardening because they like it, you know, once they know more about the program. And of course that's kind of why I'm here to tell people that the way this program's initiated and a lot of people already know the story was in the 70s and in Seattle in King County and Pierce County where there was a County agent over there that was being overwhelmed by questions from people about gardening. And so , uh, he kinda came up with this idea to kind of deputize people. And so what , what does that mean? And so what it means is somebody who's interested in gardening would learn more about it. Uh, how would they learn more? Participating in some classroom, classes given by people that are specialists out of New Mexico State University in different content areas such as soil, such as botany, plant pathology, you know, bugs, entomology and vegetables and all that kind of stuff. So w e, you get experts coming in, u h, to give you classes. You learn more about this and the return is going to be a service commitment on behalf of the master gardener to help out the county agent in any community activities that are somehow r elated to what the county agent does or you know, u m, Ag, u h, and gardening type of issues. U h, a nd, and so that's t he, the give and take if you will. So the master gardener receives a classroom knowledge about gardening and then t he payback i s service hours that they will give back to their community. And so that's kind of what the program would give back to somebody that's interested in gardening

Jessica :

And the service hours are , they're now able to do those online. They can submit those online right?

Eduardo:

They can submit, that's something that we , we're just , uh , initiating right now. We haven't had that, and this is just as it's called in the field best practices. Right. So , uh, the California system, which is the golden standard of master gardening came up with this volunteer hours where you can go and log on and whatnot. All these other programs in other states of the United States have followed suit. And so we're trying to do something similar that wouldn't be so expensive and NMSU and create this page to be able to allow these master gardener interns to log on and submit their hours that way as opposed to doing it like they were in the past, which was paper and it was just too complicated to keep track of that. You know.

Jessica :

I have to add also, I can completely understand, you know , the overwhelming part of this and why master gardeners are so needed, especially here for me personally, I would really like to see this program come back because I do need the help. I do get a lot of questions, especially in the summer about, you know, my plants are dying. I don't know why I have an insect, I don't know what it is. You know, what can I, you know, some IPM, integrated pest management questions over how do I control this specific insect, all those types of things. And nine times out of 10 I'm getting asked the same question over and over again. And it's very time consuming being a double agent. So you know I have 4-H responsibilities, I also have Ag responsibilities, but it'd be great to be able to delegate that out. Um, so the master gardener program is very vital and needed, I think in every county. I can't see any agent saying no, they don't want the help. Um, it's just a great, great program. After you become a master Gardener, how do you keep your master gardener status?

Eduardo:

Well, it's like a , a lot of professions that require continuing education hours. So the CE hours would , uh, you know , uh, that are available to each chapter depending on where you're at. They might vary a little bit and maybe in the future we'll be able to offer , uh , you know, options online so people won't have to travel. But there is a, a CE commitment that they have to continue to do. And it varies to be honest. Uh, you know, from chapter to chapter , uh, it can be about 20 hours every year to be able to continue having your certification current.

Jessica :

Okay. And can they lose that title?

Eduardo:

Yeah, certainly. Uh , the master gardener, uh , you know , uh, once you become a master gardener and to go through the program and you have to be current, as I mentioned with the CE hours , uh, and obviously if you lose that , uh, then you know, you're , you don't become current, you lose, you lose your certification. You know, there's also other ways to lose your certification. You know, any type of violation of the, we do have a code of conduct because we fall under the umbrella of NMSU that, you know, has all these expectations on how people should behave. And you know, there's this thing about you can't actually , um , take advantage of that certification commercially. So this is something we're also thinking about doing, or offering certain type of classes to landscapers. But that would be a little different than, you know, what it is right now, which is kind of a service component. So if somebody tries to do that and advertise themselves, you know, certainly that could jeopardize their certification. But yeah, they have to be current with the CE hours and follow certain rules.

Jessica :

And those CEU's are typically offered through the extension office to the or the entire state. You can get those CEU's in a lot of different places. So that's the good part about that. It's not exactly difficult to keep up with that. Cost. What does it cost to be a master gardener?

Eduardo:

Now uh , the cost in some places it varies because people can charge a lot more than what is required. I believe , uh, the bylaws require that we , uh , the matrix at NMSU, receive $100 per person and that's typically to defray the cost of travel of the specialists that are going to be, you know , traveling from NMSU, going all around the state. These specialists of course are the ones that are going to teach your classes and you know, their , their doctors and soil, you know, soil science and , and , and you know , horticulture and , and entomology and all this. And so that $100 really goes to travel expenses. And so some chapters might charge $200, you know, and keep a hundred out of that. Uh , some charge a little bit less maybe because of the community, and the demographics where they're at and maybe they think that maybe , uh , their community won't absorb a $ 200 fee. So it can vary, you know, and , uh, and obviously in places up North, Santa Fe and Albuquerque , uh, that's kind of the amount that they charge is about $200.

Jessica :

Okay. Very good. And , um, if anybody has any questions about the master gardener program, how can they get a hold of you?

Eduardo:

Well , uh , they can email me at [email protected] .edu . That's my email servin @ nmsu .edu and they can call me, I am on the main campus , um , at 575-646-2771. And uh, so they can call NMSU and that's where my , uh, my office is at. But I , I typically try to get , uh , get around , uh , throughout the state, but that's my email and my phone number.

Jessica :

Well, thank you for being on the podcast today. A lot of great information was shared . I'd also like to mention that if anybody out there listening is interested in becoming a master gardener, they can also contact me and email our office at [email protected] You can also call our office at (575) 388-1559 and that information is also repeated at the end of this podcast, so thank you for being here today.

Eduardo:

Thank you for having me.

Jessica :

Thanks everyone for listening. If you enjoy this podcast, don't forget to hit the subscribe button on Apple podcast, Stitcher, Google play, or whatever app you're using to listen to this podcast. Want more information? You can visit us at our website, grantextension.nmsu.edu follow us on Facebook at NMSU, Grant County , CES, Snapchat at Grant County NM 4-H, shoot us an email at [email protected] .edu or give us a call, (575) 388-1559. New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity affirmative action employer and educator. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.

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Hooky with Sloane by Bird Creek Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/... Music provided by FreeMusic109 https://youtube.com/FreeMusic109