Earth.
Making a difference
Impacting climate change in our communities
Support the Master Gardener Program

Throughout this site there are links to documents of various file types.
Please contact our Statewide Program Leader if you require this information in a different format.

Solving problems in our communities

Engaging university-trained volunteers to empower and sustain diverse communities with relevant, unbiased, research-based horticulture and environmental stewardship education. Read about WSU Master Gardeners in the news.

Master Gardeners studying plants.
Dustin Francis, right, examines a grasshopper held by Sarah Griffith during a WSU Extension Master Gardener Entomology Lab training class Thursday, March 7, at the WSU Spokane County Extension Center.

Extension tackles climate awareness

Groups of gardening enthusiasts were huddled around lab tables examining preserved insect specimens, learning the tell-tale signs of invasive pests that a warming climate could bring to the Pacific Northwest.

Read the article.

Parched soil.

Impact

Seventy percent of participants in attendance at climate-friendly gardening classes will adopt principles like composting, mulching, choosing climate adapted plants, soil conservation, increasing plant diversity, reducing turf area, and increasing tree canopy in addition to using human-powered tools and decreasing chemical use.

Issue:

Our changing climate with warmer winters, hotter summers, and extreme weather events like flooding and droughts has a significant impact on plant growth and the various organisms that interact with plants, including insects, pollinators, diseases, and microbes. In this context, home gardeners play a crucial role in addressing climate change and fostering resilience.

Key practices for climate-conscious gardening include:

  • Human-Powered Tools: Opt for human-powered tools like push mowers, rakes, and hand clippers instead of gas-powered tools such as lawn mowers and leaf blowers. This choice contributes to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Resilient Plant Choices: Select plants that are resilient and well adapted to your local soil and climate conditions. Choosing climate-appropriate and native plants enhances the overall resilience of your landscape.
  • Research-Based Horticulture Practices: Implement research-based horticulture practices to effectively manage soil health. This includes techniques to conserve water, improve soil structure, and optimize nutrient levels.
  • On-Site Composting: Engage in on-site composting to close the waste loop, reducing the need for landfill disposal. Composting not only yields valuable nutrients for your garden but also helps minimize methane emissions associated with landfill decomposition.

By incorporating these practices, home gardeners contribute to a more sustainable and climate-resilient environment, mitigating the impact of climate change on plant life and the broader ecosystem.

Response:

The Master Gardener program is dedicated to educating and empowering communities to create resilient landscapes that adapt to the changing climate and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Here are key achievements related to climate resilience:

  • Climate Change Questions: Extension Master Gardeners addressed 1,100 climate change-related questions, providing valuable information and guidance to the community.
  • Education Outreach: Reached 71 youth and 530 adults with research-based practices for gardeners, equipping them with knowledge to create climate-resilient landscapes.
  • Educational Classes: Organized 1 class for youth and 116 classes for adults, focusing on practical steps to build resilient, climate-friendly landscapes.
  • Workshops: Hosted 2 workshops for youth and 8 workshops for adults, offering hands-on experiences for building climate-resilient landscapes.
  • Demonstrations: Conducted 3 demonstrations for adults, providing opportunities for participants to deepen their understanding of creating a climate-resilient garden.
  • Field Days: Organized 15 field days, facilitating in-depth interactions to connect participants more closely with the principles of climate-resilient landscaping.

Through these initiatives, the Master Gardener program actively engages the community in building knowledge and practical skills to foster climate resilience, creating landscapes that can thrive in the face of a changing climate.

Rock garden with succulants.
Stevens County firewise demonstration garden.

New path installed in garden.
Extension Master Gardener volunteers play a crucial role in educating the community about sustainable practices, including efforts to mitigate climate change. Through their classes and workshops, they impart valuable information on composting and other research-based strategies.

Doing our part

The San Juan County Extension Master Gardeners made a significant impact with their Resilient Gardens in a Changing Climate workshop series, engaging 220 participants. Evaluations from the participants highlight the effectiveness of the workshops in inspiring positive changes in gardening practices, specifically incorporating climate-friendly principles.

Key observations include:

  • Likelihood to Change Practices: Evaluations indicate that the majority of participants are extremely likely to change their gardening practices. This demonstrates the effectiveness of the workshop series in influencing participants toward more climate-conscious approaches.
  • Climate-Friendly Principles: Participants express a commitment to climate-friendly principles such as mulching, reducing lawn areas, making thoughtful plant selections, and enhancing soil health.
  • Educational Impact: Participants found the workshop series very useful in helping them understand how to prepare for a changing climate. The program successfully conveyed the importance of mulching, water conservation, and the significance of planting more trees for creating a climate-resilient landscape.

The feedback underscores the success of the workshop series in not only imparting knowledge but also motivating participants to adopt practical and impactful climate-friendly gardening practices. The emphasis on mulching, water conservation, and tree planting reflects a comprehensive understanding of creating resilient landscapes in the context of climate change.


In Mason County volunteers taught a class on gardening in a drier climate. The class proved to be both informative and insightful for the 32 attendees. It effectively addressed the concerns of participants and provided valuable insights and knowledge on fire-wise and drought-tolerant landscaping, empowering them to make informed decisions for a more resilient and sustainable garden in a drier climate.

Key takeaways from the class included:

  • Concerns about Wildfire: 56% of attendees expressed concerns about wildfires in their area, highlighting the relevance and importance of addressing fire-related issues in gardening practices.
  • Knowledge Gained on Fire-Wise Landscaping: 52% of attendees felt they learned a lot about fire-wise landscaping, while 44% indicated that they learned some new concepts. This indicates a positive impact of the class in enhancing participants’ understanding of landscaping practices to mitigate wildfire risks.
  • Existing Drought-Tolerant Plants: A significant 78% of attendees already had existing drought-tolerant plants in their landscapes, showcasing a proactive approach to water-conscious gardening.
  • Learning about Drought-Tolerant Landscaping: 56% of attendees felt they learned a lot from the presentation on drought-tolerant landscaping, while 44% believed they gained new concepts. This demonstrates the effectiveness of the class in educating participants on creating water-efficient and resilient landscapes.
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Earth sciences.

Find additional research-based resources on our changing climate.