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What’s in Bloom Engages Volunteers & Educates the Community

Extension Education

Leslie Rose
Extension Horticulture Agent
NC State University


North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Forsyth County Center, manages two public gardens to showcase plants that can be grown in the Piedmont region. In April 2020, Extension Agent Leslie Rose created the “What’s in Bloom” page of the Extension website to share photographs of plants in bloom at these gardens while visitors were sheltering at home due to COVID-19. Due to the popularity of What’s in Bloom, the page continues to be updated, even after visitors have returned to the gardens. In 2022, Extension Master Gardener Volunteers began collecting photographs and cultural information about plants blooming weekly. In this way, the page serves a dual purpose: (1) to inform community members about plants that grow and bloom seasonally in the Piedmont region of NC and (2) to develop skills in plant identification and horticultural research in Extension Master Gardener Volunteers. From March through October 2022, volunteers collected up to four photographs in each of Extension’s gardens. In addition, volunteers wrote a 2-3 sentence description of each plant, including identifying information and growing requirements. Photographs were updated on the Extension website weekly. The What’s in Bloom website has received increasing pageviews each year since its creation, with a total of 3,045 pageviews between 2020 and 2022. Based on feedback from website visitors, 96% gained knowledge that was helpful in their garden. Two people reported visiting Extension’s gardens after viewing the What’s in Bloom page. Twelve volunteers served as What’s in Bloom scouts in 2022; of these, 50% work at jobs that prevent them from participating in other regular volunteer activities. Volunteer evaluation feedback showed that 100% gained skills in plant identification and researching growing information for plants. The What’s in Bloom page serves to educate both the community and Extension Master Gardener Volunteers, strengthening horticultural skills in both audiences.

Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted for judging. If NOT selected as a State winner, it will not be displayed at the AM/PIC and the abstract will not be published in the proceedings.

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Authors: Leslie Rose
  1. Rose, L. Extension Horticulture Agent, N.C. Cooperative Extension, Forsyth County Center, North Carolina, 27105