Home Dutchess County Volunteer Master Gardeners resign en masse from Cornell Cooperative

Volunteer Master Gardeners resign en masse from Cornell Cooperative

Volunteer Master Gardeners resign en masse from Cornell Cooperative

MILLBROOK Several of the volunteer gardeners have resigned a few days after the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Dutchess County (CCE) sent out a press release announcing their 49th annual Master Gardener Volunteer Program, which is published online and contained quotes from Master Gardeners. One of the former Master Gardeners stated that the volunteer statements included in the press release were from a number of years ago.

Numerous volunteers have filed their resignations, according to Dr. Tanya Radford, a former volunteer who spoke with Mid-Hudson News. In protest of the new program leadership’s uncompromising, disrespectful management of the program, their misrepresentation of the current problem to the CCE, and their dishonest, if not libelous, portrayals of volunteer behavior, at least half of the program’s 74 volunteers have resigned.

As volunteers, Radford explained that our goal is to share best practices based on Cornell research with home gardeners so they can design, enjoy, and maintain a more environmentally sustainable landscape. However, the initiative has disintegrated in the last few months.

In addition to Radford, twenty-six other people signed a letter to Mid-Hudson News outlining their perceptions of the problems that led to the resignations.This is the link to the letter.

Dr. Radford and the other volunteers included the following in the letter outlining their reasons for leaving: “The new management team has created a hostile work environment, characterized by punitive responses to any comment deemed critical.” Devoted master gardeners, ranging from emeritus to intern, have faced criticism for attempting to initiate dialogue with the new administration.

This letter contains the five main explanations for the volunteers’ departure.


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