Washington State University Master Gardener Answer Clinics
The principal goal of the WSU Master Gardener Program is to train 60–70 skilled paraprofessional volunteers who can provide expertise and gardening advice to residents of Clark County. With instruction received in the classroom, on field tours, and through hands-on demonstrations, experienced volunteers can typically answer more than 95% of the home gardening questions that come into the Extension office. When volunteers are stumped they can turn to assistance by either the extension horticulture advisor (Charles Brun) or WSU state specialists. Volunteers are trained to offer accurate non-biased, research based answers utilizing an extensive array of information sources provided by Washington State University.
- Modern desk-top computer and Internet connection
- Expansive lists of Internet Favorites appropriate to the Northwest
- Extensive list of WSU publications
- Diversity of reference texts
- Laptop computer
- Stereo microscope
- Digital camera
The Heritage Farm/WSU Extension Answer Clinic office is located at 1919 NE 78th Street, Vancouver, Washington. The clinic is open to walk-in clients Tuesday and Wednesday 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, and Thursday and Friday from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM. Calls and e-mails placed before or after the open hours of the clinic are handled promptly the following day. The Answer Clinic phone number is (360) 397-6060 ext. 5711. Clients can also send questions and photos of plant problems to the answer clinic via e-mail to: MGanswerclinic@clark.wa.gov
- Ask a number of questions to help delineate the problem,
- Spend time reviewing appropriate responses,
- Deliver a timely response either over the phone or through an office visit.
While volunteers utilize a good deal of their personal experiences in assisting clientele, they are instructed to utilize some form of WSU supplied information whether it is publication (many now online), web site (an example is HortSense), or a reference text as supplied by the horticulture advisor. Volunteer service is free to the public.
A veteran WSU Master Gardener volunteer can only make an accurate assessment of the clients issue with a fresh specimen. For plant problem diagnosis we require a representative sample that clearly shows the demarcation between un-thrifty and healthy tissue. Pick a fresh plant specimen, put the cut end of the stem in a moist paper towel, and then come to the Answer Clinic. If cut plants are left in sunny or hot location they will wilt excessively thus making diagnosis very difficult. For plant identification we need a representative sample that includes the vegetative portion of the plant (leaves, branches, stems), a portion of the fruiting or flowering structure, and a representative portion of the stem or bark. For insect identification we need an intact specimen brought into us in a small container soon after capture. For further information on sample submission consult the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center Plant & Insect Diagnostic Laboratory.
It is a rare occurrence when samples can not be identified in the Answer Clinic at the Heritage Farm Extension office. If there are instances where a specimen needs to go the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center Plant & Insect Diagnostic Laboratory there will be a modest charge for identification and further recommendations.
Horticulture Advisor Support
Dr. Charles Brun is the Horticulture Advisor who has responsibility for over-seeing the WSU Master Gardener program in Clark County. When volunteers are unable to answer a question that arises in the Answer Clinic they can seek assistance from Dr. Brun. WSU Master Gardener volunteers are asked to only handle home gardening questions. Questions related to commercial horticulture are handled by Charles. Dr. Brun can be reached at 360/ 397-6060, ext. 7713, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
If you would like to have a WSU Master Gardener Answer Clinic at your public event contact the WSU Master Gardener Program Coordinator, Erika Johnson at (360) 397-6060, ext. 5738 or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.