Speaker's Bureau

Master Gardener Volunteers are community members trained in horticulture through Penn State Extension. We offer a variety of informative, educational, and entertaining presentations to the public through our Speaker's Bureau.

Presentations are offered on a variety of topics related to gardening and horticulture and are designed to engage with audiences of all skill levels.

Although our volunteers do not accept payment for their time, donations to our non-profit program are encouraged and gratefully accepted. All donated funds are used to help cover educational program development and expenses.

Speaker's Bureau Presentations

Composting 101

Learn the basics of composting and how you can make “black gold” from garden and food waste!  Master Gardeners will guide you through different types of compost bin systems, and what types of items are appropriate to compost.  Where locations suit, Master Gardeners may be able to assist in setting up a compost system as part of this workshop - please inquire.

Rain Barrels for the Garden

When it rains, it pours and the water that runs off of our roofs, streets, sidewalks and other hard surfaces empties into local tributaries and into our waterways often causing flooding and other problems for the environment. In this workshop you’ll learn how to build and install a simple rain barrel to help keep this source of free water in your garden and out of our streams and waterways.

Container Gardening A to Z

This presentation covers all the ins and outs of successful container gardening. Whether you are interested in showy displays for your front porch, are limited to gardening on a balcony, or want to grow flowers or vegetables in a semi-controlled environment we’ll cover all the tips and tricks necessary for a successful container garden to last all season.

The Buzz on Bees

Are you sweet on honeybees or frightened by these buzzing busybodies? Whatever your position, there’s no denying that bees of all stripes are important pollinators that we can’t live without. In this presentation we’ll discuss some of the 20,000+ species of bees found in North America. You’ll learn about their life cycle, nesting habitats, ways to harness their efforts for higher yields in the vegetable garden and fruit orchard, and conservation practices. By the end, you’ll want to make these buzzing beauties your BFF’s.

Common Houseplants and their Care

Indoor plants can add beauty to your home and freshen the air all year, but would you know a croton from a caladium? How and when do they need to be fertilized, and how much exactly should you be watering them? We’ll help uncover some of the mystery of caring for plants indoors, and discuss some of the best and “no-fail” houseplants.

Plant Pathology “Dirty Dozen”

Most seasoned gardeners know that sinking feeling when plants begin to yellow, droop, or have “mystery” spots. Words like “blight” and “fungus” start leaping to mind. In this presentation, we’ll cover how to identify, prevent, and treat the most common diseases the home gardener is likely to encounter in the veggie patch.

Milk Jug Mini-Greenhouses and the Winter Sow Method

Start your summer garden in January with the winter sow method! This unique way of starting plants mimics the natural freeze/thaw cycles many seeds require to break down their seed coat and begin germination. For many annuals, perennials, and vegetables this is a great method for producing hearty plants with low maintenance to help you get a jump on your garden, plus it’s a great way to beat the winter blues! (This presentation is best offered In the Fall, or January - Early March)

Grow Your Best Tomatoes! Tomatoes 101

Vines loaded with ripe tomatoes are a delight to most gardeners eyes, and a staple of many summer gardens. In this presentation we’ll take the guess work out of growing great tomatoes, discussing every aspect from seed selection, staking, watering, and troubleshooting.

Getting to Know Native Plants

Native plants (those that were found to exist on this continent before the arrival of European settlers) are celebrated more and more for their beauty and ability to withstand harsh conditions. Learn to identify, select, and plant natives suitable for your garden, as well as their many benefits to the home garden and the environment as a whole.

Planting for Pollinators

Whether you are interested in attracting and supporting butterfly populations, bringing in birds, or benefiting bees - we offer several fun and informative presentations on pollinator friendly gardening practices suitable for all ages and audiences.

Bugs in My Garden: Good, Bad, or Ugly

We’ll discuss common garden insects and discover whether they are truly garden “pests” or friends in disguise. Learn unique facts and gain new insight into our human/insect relationship. This presentation can be tailored to age ranges 14 and up.

Tree ID: Downtown State College Walking Tour

State College has been designated as a “Tree City U.S.A.” by the National Arbor Day Foundation. Join Master Gardeners as we take a walking tour of downtown State College and discover many of its arboreal treasures. We’ll discuss tree types common to the area, and cover basic tree identification techniques. This tour can be adapted to cover areas of varying distances to suit the needs of the group. Comfortable walking shoes and attire are required.

To Schedule

To schedule a speaker for your event, please contact the Centre County Extension Office (CentreExt@psu.edu)

Donations

Although our volunteers do not accept payment for their time, donations to our non-profit program are encouraged. All donated funds are used to help cover educational program development and expenses.

We suggest a donation amount of $50, however any amount will be gratefully accepted. Donations should be made payable to:

PSCE Program Account
420 Holmes Avenue
Willowbank Building, Room 322
Bellefonte, PA 16823-1488

Donations may be presented to the speaker at the event, or mailed in advance.