Master Gardener Foundation of Washington State
Board Meeting
March 15, 2023

Held on Zoom


President Tana opened the meeting and Secretary John confirmed a quorum was present. In attendance were 34 members, representing 18 counties. Included were 2 guest MGs from Cowlitz County and one from Skagit. Officers present were President Tana Hasart, Exec. VP Cathi Lamoreux, Secretary John Strong, Treasurer Gilbert Plascencia, as well as State Program Lead, Jennifer Marquis.


From Spokane, Darcey Byrne told us of their upcoming “Cabin Fever” event next weekend. Candice Gohn, Jefferson, related her excitement about yesterday’s meeting of a team developing a 5-year AEC scheduling and site selection plan. It was a great group, and details of their recommendations will come later in the meeting.

Susan Inlow-Romine from Benton-Franklin boasted of the great news about their Juvenile Justice youth program, which was just chosen for recognition at the International MG Conference in Kansas, with the top award in the Youth category!

The Whidbey Gardening Workshop in Island County was just completed. This was the first year they used some streaming technology. Carole Matthews described it as a success, with some technical lessons learned.

Karen Russo and Sharon Golightly, in Grays Harbor/Pacific, said they will host a home and garden show featuring Cisco on the third weekend of May. Prior to that their Mother’s Day Plant Sale occurs.


Tana expressed her deep appreciation for the help she has received as she launches her first year as President. All those who are so involved, and especially recently at the NW Flower and Garden Festival, have been a great help. She also recently had wonderful working sessions with groups including Grays Harbor/Pacific, Kitsap, and the 50th Anniversary Planning team.


Jennifer covered a number of topics including: Communication, National Extension Master Gardener Week, the NW Flower and Garden Festival, “Cougs Give”, 50th Anniversary Magazine, and Program – Foundation relations. With help from the leaders of our upcoming Regional 50th Celebrations, we heard teasers about each one: Puyallup (Tana), Prosser (Susan Inlow-Romine), Wenatchee (Debra Benbow), and Mount Vernon (Diana Wisen & Carole Matthews.)

Jennifer’s complete report can be found at this link.


Gilbert presented the Balance Sheet and Budget vs Actual reports. There was little activity during February, and there were no questions or discussion.



Kathy Brenberger and Patricia Bosh expressed their great pleasure in working with a great team to manage this year’s awards. Their first meeting will be March 27, where they will discuss each of the awards, and their criteria. Nominations will open after that, and it is hoped that MANY nominations will be submitted for each of the awards: Media, Ed LaCrosse, and MG of the Year. (Details of these awards can be found on our website.)


Candice Gohn discussed the workings of her 5-year Strategic Planning Team for the AEC schedule. Their recommendation is that we hold conferences on an alternating year schedule: 2024-Virtual, 2025-Live East Side, 2026-Virtual, 2027-Live West Side, 2028-Virtual. This 5 year plan would continue in this fashion.

*** Diana Wisen moved and Karen Nelson seconded a motion to accept this recommendation. Many comments in favor of the plan ensued. The vote was called for, and the motion passed unanimously.


Tana reported on behalf of Marylou Krautscheid. We need to have a clear written job description for this committee. It was noted that nearly all our chapter charters expire in the same year. We should look at staggering those for the next renewal.


Erin reminds us that the spring issue of Seeds For Thought is coming, and article submissions are needed. Please encourage your local members to send articles and/or news of upcoming events.

Together with website developer, Craig Lawrence, Erin is working toward transitioning the newsletter to an online blog as part of the new website. More to come as that develops.


Cathi would like to post news about local and regional events on the state program and foundation Facebook pages. Please send those posts to her, and to Jennifer.

An excellent guide for social media posting is available on the state program website. Encourage your local Social Media volunteers to download the toolkit and use it to help get our word out – – especially next week (National Extension Master Gardener Week,) and through this, our 50th year!


UFW (Unifying Foundation Websites)

John reports that the project is progressing nicely. In addition to the state site, the Pierce subdomain is now live. Chelan-Douglas, Yakima, and King are in development, and Grays Harbor/Pacific just announced today that they will join and begin work on their subdomain. Several other chapters are close to deciding on coming on later in the year.

AEC 2023

Debbie Benbow recapped the planning team meeting of last Monday. Minutes from that meeting. Cathi told us of the process to line up top notch instructors, and said that nearly all are confirmed. Debbie says the website will be updated soon with details of the program.

Marriott Hotel has opened booking for us. Our special rate ($159) is available through a link at our website, and reservations at that rate can be made through August 30.

Budget: The AEC Budget has been revised to show a loss, because adequate sponsorship cannot be assured at this point. With strong work from MGs around the state, we can fix that. Please encourage all of your members to suggest to Debbie or Don Enstrom businesses and organizations in your areas who you believe might contribute. Suggestions include prior sponsors for your events, your local foundation, corporations, nearby nurseries, retail or other business, tribes, and more.


*** Gilbert reported that our collective support of the booth at the NW Flower and Garden Festival contributed to a great event that all who attended believe was a credit to our program. After the bills are paid, there remains a little over $1,600 of the foundation contributions that were made. Our agreement with local foundations was to return to them any unspent moneys, pro-rated according to the size of their contribution. Gilbert suggested that we approach those foundations that gave, and ask if they would like to leave their remainder in a fund to kickstart a similar effort next year at the NWFGF. Karen Russo moved and Sharon Golightly seconded to do just that. After discussion, the motion passed unanimously.


Tana shared that when we talk to people about accepting a job, it seems that often they respond with one of three things: “I’m too busy”, “What is the job description?”, or “How many hours will it take?” It is clear that we need to work on having answers to those questions. Patty Peterson has offered to coordinate with folks to develop a communication plan. The exercise that follows is a first step in that direction.


Cathi led our discussion to answer:
— What do you wish you knew when beginning your service on this board?
— What information do you believe an ideal Board handbook should contain?

Ideas that were put forward included:
— A mentor from a previous board member
— Orientation meeting – in person, if possible
— What is the purpose of the MGFWS?
— What are my responsibilities?
— Need to know the finances
— A video, handbook, with testimonials from other board members
— Keep It Simple – don’t overwhelm a newbie with too much info at once
— A succinct mission statement

Much good discussion ensued, and all suggestions will help in our development of good onboarding tools.


Once again, to Karen’s delight, we finished our work, had fun, and adjourned 5 minutes early at 7:55 pm.