Rutgers Master Gardeners of Morris Win International Award

Published on September 23, 2021

Master Gardener Mary Olin examining a plant problem 2021 2.jpg

Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) of Morris County is proud to announce that the Rutgers Master Gardener Community Garden Integrated Pest Management Team has won 1st Place in the 2021 David Gibby International Master Gardener Conference Search for Excellence, Innovative Projects Category.

This team of volunteers regularly inspects plots in Morris County community gardens to identify insects, diseases, environmental and cultural problems. Any issues found are thoroughly researched by the team, using science-based university or Cooperative Extension sources, and reviewed by RCE of Morris County faculty and staff.

The team prepares bi-weekly reports throughout the growing season to provide community gardeners with alerts of potential issues. These reports feature photos to help the gardeners recognize the problems and offer research-based prevention and management techniques.

In addition to the reports, the team also tracks each year’s first observations of insects and diseases by date and location. Now in its fourth year, the project’s database of first observations and summary chart serve as key resources, allowing gardeners to anticipate possible problems during the growing season.

Rutgers Morris County Master Gardeners When the project first started in 2018, the audience for the reports was initially community gardeners in two community gardens in Morris County. Through partnerships with other community garden managers -- the New Jersey Community Garden Association, the Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum and Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey -- the reports are now disseminated to more than 8,500 gardeners throughout New Jersey.

The members of the award-winning Integrated Pest Management Team, pictured left, are (l-r): Margot Sample, Jennifer Basile, Jill Williams, Mary Albright, Mary Olin, Brian Monaghan, Sue Wiedaseck, Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent Peter Nitzsche, Agriculture & Natural Resources Secretary Cynthia Triolo and Master Gardener Coordinator Dave Los. Missing from photo are Diane DuBrule and Cheri Wilczek

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