Active membership in the GTeam increased the number of new collaborations, which resulted in new partnerships, grants, and recognition awards. Peer-reviewed content on gardening site increased, resulting in better support for Extension Master Gardener volunteers and better information for Washington home gardeners.
Many GTeam members oversee local Extension Master Gardener communities; thus, providing better content doesn’t just generate a sense of satisfaction, it also directly assists team members in their work outside the team. Members reported receiving unexpected but significant value in professional development and advancement through increased opportunity for collaboration on grants and publications, from working in a synergistic atmosphere to in-house training on new techniques and educational tools.
Sharing content from the GTeam’s work increased local Master Gardeners’ awareness of WSU’s ongoing effort to bring research-based information to home gardeners. An unanticipated benefit has been to build morale among the Master Gardeners who see it as an investment in providing them with the tools they need to more effectively assist their clients. They see it as a vote of confidence that the university values public outreach and their work.
The website also serves as a repository of peer-reviewed information for Washington gardeners who are not Master Gardeners, but want science-based information. They learn about the website through seminars, blogs, and Facebook groups managed by members of the GTeam. This includes the Garden Professors, whose more than 7,000 Facebook members receive links to new publications generated by team members.
Impacts of GTeam formation include a stronger esprit de corps among team members and a sharp rise in peer-reviewed publication numbers.