Community Horticulture Program
Request for Volunteer Assistance


What's NEW!

The Garden as Sanctuary

This is a difficult column to write. I had wanted to wax poetically about new beginnings that come with a new year and about my excitement in joining the UVM Extension Community Horticulture Program. Don’t get me wrong – I am absolutely thrilled to now be on board and can’t wait to meet our volunteers, see your projects, and continue to offer the high-quality educational events that make our program so special. However, the Omicron variant has damped my spirits…but not my hope.

So for 2022, I bid you my best wishes that you find sanctuary in your gardens. At our 2021 annual gardening conference, speaker Ellen Ecker Ogden spoke about the garden as a sanctuary. This notion really hadn’t occurred to me before, despite enjoying gardening for most of my adult life. But upon reflecting of what has brought me a sense of safety and peace during the pandemic and beyond, I realize how important the garden has been to my physical, emotional and mental health.

As we start another year of uncertainty and will likely navigate some challenging times ahead, may we all find solace in our gardens as places of refuge, safe haven, retreat, and sacred space.

Deb Heleba, State Coordinator








Lymantria dispar

(formerly known as Gypsy Moth)


Ann Hazelrigg, Plant Pathologist,

UVM Extension

UVM Master Composter Course Fall 2021


We offered another successful Vermont Master Composter course this past fall consisting of eight weeks of online information and training on the in-depth study of backyard composting. The students also had two opportunities for hands-on workshops in two locations in the state.  

Two ‘tracks’ were offered in the course depending on whether the student opted to complete a volunteer component following the course. Eight students opted to complete a 10-hour volunteer component after the training and 46 students chose just the training without a volunteer component.

Each week’s training was introduced by Macie Millstein, a very capable UVM undergraduate, with the behind-the-scenes work done by Sarah Kingsley-Richards in Extension. Students submitted weekly questions about the course content they had studied, and the instructors addressed those questions in the interactive Q and A portion of the course the following week.

Students received a ‘Certificate of Completion’ after meeting all the course requirements. The post course survey showed the students learned a lot of great information which gave them the confidence to turn food scraps and yard trimmings into nutrient rich compost in their backyards!


Congratulations to the 53 students that recently completed

the 2021 Course!

Eight of these students have committed to volunteer on approved Master Composter Projects and complete their certification within 2 years. 

Congratulations to:

Jeff Clarkson, Katherine Cole,

Nicolle Ferrier, Ehrin Lingeman,

Donna Mackie, Sean Morrissey,

Lauren Olewnik, and

Michael Rooney!


EMG Intern Andrea Landsberg Partners with Illsley Library and Middlebury Garden Club on Pollinator Education


Through a library display, handouts, and presentations, EMG Intern Andrea Landsberg successfully provided pollinator education to approximately 120 adults. With support by certified EMGs Barbara Blodgett and Judith Irven, Andrea created a display that explained the process for designing, installing, and maintaining the new library pollinator garden. Handouts were provided on soil testing, selecting native perennials, preparing for planting, and how to ensure the plants will survive.

Screen Shot 2021-10-26 at 5.33.25 PM.png

Andrea reports that attendees were inspired to plant with native perennials to provide both food and nesting material for pollinators, and many said they would take action to support native bees this year in their yards by providing water sources, planting native perennials, and leaving plant stalks through the winter.


Andrea also volunteered at the Bridport Triangle Garden and Addison County Field Days to complete her intern experience. Congratulations and well done Andrea!


Winter Film & Speaker Series

Coming Soon!

Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, we will once again offer a series of horticulture related films and speakers to Master Gardeners, Master Composters, and the general public.

Films under consideration:

Judy Dench: My Passion for Trees', 'Hometown Habitat, Stories of Bringing Nature Home' and 'The Gardener'.

Topics include:

Regenerative agriculture, soil health, climate change, plant biodiversity, as well as beautiful cinematography of gardens and farms around the world.

Each event will be followed by a

30-minute open discussion to share thoughts and impressions.

Got a film or speaker to suggest for the series? Contact Cindy Heath, by January 11th.


Remembering a Volunteer

Donna Covais

10/10/57 - 12/7/21

Master Gardener - Class of 2003 Northwest Chapter

1600 volunteer hours

Lifetime Achievement Certificate and Gold Badge in 2017

Read More Here

UVM Extension Contributors

Deb Heleba - State Coordinator

Ann Hazelrigg - Plant Pathologist

Lisa Chouinard - Office & Program Support

Cindy Heath - Volunteer Coordinator

Debby Gillen - Outreach Assistant




Community Horticulture Program

Burlington, VT 05405

(802) 656-9562

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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. University of Vermont Extension, Burlington, Vermont. University of Vermont Extension, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status.  Any reference to commercial products, trade names, or brand names is for information only, and no endorsement or approval is intended.