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Mary Hockenberry Meyer*

Miscanthus sinensis was investigated where it has naturalized and invaded native plant communities in southeastern Pennsylvania, the Washington, D.C. area, western North Carolina, and Iowa. Plants were identified; inflorescences were collected; seed was cleaned and tested for viability; and soil was collected for seed bank analysis. Many individuals were interviewed at each location. Locations were mapped to show miscanthus. The species or “wild type” Miscanthus sinensis that has naturalized at the above locations is rarely sold in the nursery trade. The numerous, popular, ornamental cultivars derived from this species are vegetatively propagated clones that are common in the nursery trade. Miscanthus is self-incompatible and sets seed only when two or more genotypes are grown together. Individual isolated plants set little seed. Plants of the wild type which have naturalized each represent a unique individual or genotype and thus set heavy seed, quite different from ornamental cultivars. Further complicating this is the high variability of seed set due to environmental conditions. Management guidelines were developed along with recommendations which include: Do not plant the species Miscanthus sinensis. Cultivars of the species, especially when two are more are grown together, represent a high risk for self-seeding in the Mid Atlantic states. Cultivars should only be planted in areas where they can be watched and managed for self-seeding. No miscanthus should be planted where it can seed into native areas, such as highways, fields, meadows, or wooded areas. A comprehensive website with identification, pictures, management guidelines, and recommendations was developed: http://horticulture.coafes.umn.edu/miscanthus.

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Mary Hockenberry Meyer

Nearly 300 Master Gardeners (MGs) who stopped volunteering were surveyed as to why they did not continue in the program. The fivequestion survey was mailed to people who had not turned in volunteer hours for the previous two years. Forty-seven percent or 131 useable surveys were returned and tabulated. A majority of the respondents, 73 (56%), indicated “no time” as the primary reason for not volunteering. Illness or personal reasons accounted for 30 responses (23%), and 20 people (15%) indicated they were disappointed in the program. Eighty-one percent rated the program as excellent or good; 79% indicated they would recommend the program to others.

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Mary Hockenberry Meyer

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Mary Hockenberry Meyer

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Mary Hockenberry Meyer

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Mary Hockenberry Meyer

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Mary Hockenberry Meyer

Several traditional print extension resources have been published on program evaluation, including Evaluating Impact of Extension Programs, by R. Rennekamp, P. Warner, and R. Maurer, 1996, Univ. of Kentucky; and Evaluation for Accountability, by B. Sawer, 1992, Oregon State Univ. Additional resources from other agencies, such as the Minnesota Department of Human Services' publication Measuring the Difference Volunteers Make can aid in the evaluation of extension programs. New reporting methods are now being used to present information and program evaluation such as Minnesota Impacts http://www3.extension.umn.edu/mnimpacts/index.asp, and Oregon Invests. This workshop session will define terms important in evaluation reporting, suggest resources to use, and propose a method of reporting evaluation information of similar projects in environmental horticulture programs throughout the United States.

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Mary Hockenberry Meyer

Development of a new children's horticulture curriculum, the Junior Master Gardener program, from Texas A&M Univ. has lead to several youth projects in Minnesota. In Chisago County, Minn., Master Gardeners have instructed 4-H leaders who taught weekly sessions to elementary age children. Older teens have been leaders in this project as well. In Hennepin County, Minn., the program has been used by teachers and Master Gardeners in a formal classroom setting. Additional programs in Anoka, Rice, Winona, and Washington Counties, Minn., have used this curriculum. Leaders say the strengths of the program are the extensive and detailed list of projects, the impact on the local community when children do the service component, and children's learning of the scientific concepts that are the basis of the program. Cost of the materials and distribution are negative features. Further program examples will be highlighted and detailed at this workshop.

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Mary Hockenberry Meyer