As Hempstead Hall in Hope was hosting a 2017 Statewide Master Gardner training convention on Saturday, a familiar face to Nevada County residents was the lead-off speaker as Nevada County Extension Agent and Staff Chair Darrin Neal took the podium.

As Hempstead Hall in Hope was hosting a 2017 Statewide Master Gardner training convention on Saturday, a familiar face to Nevada County residents was the lead-off speaker as Nevada County Extension Agent and Staff Chair Darrin Neal took the podium.
Neal was the first of a number of presenters that also included Janet Carson, the executive secretary of the UA Ag Coop extension service and State Coordinator of the Master Gardner program.
“The program today was about lawns, and the establishment and care of those lawns. This is part of the statewide Master Gardner training that is going on; we have people here today as far away as Boone County,” Neal said.
“They learn a wide array of different topics from soil fertility to ornamental plants to horticulture.  My particular presentation was on lawns,” he said.
Before a gathering of 50 or so Master Gardeners, Neal was clearly comfortable with the subject, and often engaged his audience with a mixture of humor and facts in a slide show.
“We are here and available with an array of resources for anyone who has a question about their lawns.  At the Extension Service, we wear a lot of different hats.  We may be doing a pasture inventory in the morning and assisting a 4-H group in the afternoon. We do so many different things, including agriculture but also family and consumer sciences,” he said.
“We take the take the research-based data and we deliver to the citizens for education and day-to-day applications for their situations,” he said.
In Nevada County, Neal spends a good deal of his time in agriculture and forestry, where other areas, such as Garland County may have more concerns regarding horticulture, but he said “We really deal with a wide array of areas.”
“Every day is different in helping people in different ways.  Most of the time, except for formal presentations like today, I don’t know what is in store from one day to the next.” he said.