One way the Fairfield County Master Gardeners found to stay connected during the COVID-19 STAY AT HOME ORDER was by sharing SMILES from our gardens during the past 60 days. The SMILE Challenge was posted to the Fairfield County Master Gardener Facebook Group page on March 21, 2020. The MGV Coordinator request was very simple...look around you and find something that made you SMILE today. Since March 21, our Facebook group has increased the number of followers by 63% and have had 262 posts or engagements You do not have to be a Master Gardener to join the group, you simply need to enjoy gardening and be respectful in your postings within the group.
A little bit of history, our Facebook MGV group page started in late January of 2019 . We have five active MGV administrators. We have rules: Be Kind and Courteous. No Hate Speech or Bullying. No Promotions or Spam. Respect Everyone. We do ask a couple of membership questions: How long have you had an interest in gardening? Would you like to learn more about the Master Gardener Program? Once the questions are answered, approval for membership is given by one the administrator. We currently have 178 followers. It has been a very easy process and works very well for the Master Gardener Volunteers in Fairfield County.
In conclusion, from the Facebook Group Insight page we were able to see posts on Monday and Wednesday were the most viewed and the peak times for viewing was early in the morning (5 am and late in the day (8-10 pm). More importantly, the impact sharing of our Garden Smiles was amazing. We have shared learning opportunities, identified plants, and even invited our Soil and Water friends to share information during April’s Native Plant month. More importantly we seen MGV’s spring blooming gardens in full glory, weeds we wish we did not have, blooming houseplants, our favorite container combinations and even our pillowcase city gardens trying to keep away Mother Nature’s chill. The true blessing of this group event has not really been the increase in activity, but sharing lots of great gardening experiences and plants, we would have never shared had it not been for COVID-19 and our time at home to share our world and our SMILES with others.
Written by Connie Smith, Fairfield County Master Gardener Coordinator