The South Dakota Master Gardener (SDMG) Association is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to provide assistance to SDSU Extension in carrying out their basic mission to disseminate research-based information on ornamental horticulture and gardening to the general public by coordinating the activities of its member Master Gardeners in fulfilling their obligated hours of assistance to SDSU Extension.
The Executive Committee of the association is a communication link among local clubs and individual members and may serve as a liaison between members and SDSU Extension. The SDMG Board does not govern the local clubs, but may serve as a resource. Other functions include assistance with the development of the SDMG annual conference Update, distribution of Endowment Fund grants, selection of Gold Star badge recipients, and overseeing the association finances.
2017-2018 SDMGA Officers
President Arlene Brandt-Jenson, Watertown, SD: I took the Master Gardener training in Watertown in 2011. Our class formed the Coteau Prairie Master Gardeners, with members from several counties, along with some veteran MGs. I was the first President of our club, 2012-2013; we hosted the Update in Watertown in Sept. 2013. I am currently a member of the Publicity Committee.
I was the District Conservationist for Codington County and retired from USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service in October 2011. I direct our church choir, lead children’s music, co-direct the Watertown Community Choir, and serve on the Watertown Concert Association board.
I enjoy going to the State Updates and meeting MGs from across the state. I try to take in other clubs’ activities as time allows, to meet other MGs and gain ideas for my own veggie and perennial garden and see what other clubs are doing. In the last year, SDMG has adopted new bylaws, had input on the new EMG badge design, had input on the development of the VRS, and worked to be a liaison between the member EMGs and SDSU Extension. I’m proud of the work we have accomplished in partnership with SDSU Extension and I hope to continue moving the organization forward in 2018.
Vice-President Sue W. White, Spearfish, SD: I have been a Master Gardener since Spring 2011. I am one of the founders and the coordinator of the Northern Hills Master Gardeners (NHMG) since our inception in December of 2012.
My state involvement thus far involves attending all the state Updates beginning in Fall of 2011, and as the leader of the NHMGs, attending the state leaders’ meetings. One of my most enjoyable responsibilities since becoming a Master Gardener is answering questions as part of the Cooperative Extension’s Ask an Expert Program. As Vice-President, I chair the Grants Committee and the Nominating Committee.
My undergraduate background at Iowa State University centered around biological sciences and education, and my PhD from the same institution focused on organization and administration in higher education. Teaching kindergarten through senior citizens in various public and private schools and universities, along with raising a family, has occupied much of my life. A personal commitment since moving to South Dakota in 1988 was to serve six years on the Friends of South Dakota Public Broadcasting Board of Directors, two years as president.
I am retired, which allows me to spend many happy hours working with our very active NHMG group on our many activities. We work at our local Farmers Market, present Gardening Workshops and Tree Seminars, and hosted the 2016 State Master Gardener Update conference.
Secretary Luann Noeske, Pierre, SD: I took the MG course in 1993 in Pierre and I’m a member of the local Prairie Potters MG group. We conduct public information workshops, work with organizations to promote children’s gardening activities, maintain several public gardens around Pierre, are partners with the City Arboretum, hosted the 2003 and 2015 Update, and continue our annual May plant sale.
I have been Vice President and President of the State MG Association and served on the Endowment Fund Committee. I was elected State Secretary in 2014 and re-elected in 2016. I was thrilled to receive my Gold Star Badge in 2014. I also have served as Sec/Treas, VP, and President of our local MG group. I especially enjoy our annual plant sale, attending garden tours and Updates.
When I’m gardening at home, I enjoy plant propagation, assembling container flower combinations, and learning which perennials can survive the heat and wind living in the country.
Treasurer Cheryl Palmlund, DeSmet, SD: I have always had a garden and so when I retired, I took the Master Gardener training in 2016 and received my certification in 2017. I am a member of the Brookings Area Master Gardeners club.
As a Master Gardener, I enjoy volunteering at McCrory Gardens. I have written and presented a lesson plan for “What’s Growing in Your Garden” for area youth with a seven-part activity plan. I also like to can and preserve my harvest. I created and presented a program for canning called “You CAN Do It! Preserving Nature’s Bounty.”
Before retirement I worked as the Executive Director of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homes in DeSmet. I spent my days creating exhibits and programs, meeting people from around the world and managing the non-profit. I also served as the treasurer for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant Board for twelve years.
I am excited to use my accounting skills to serve the South Dakota Master Gardeners. I have learned so much and I can’t wait to share what I have learned and keep learning and gardening!