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David Close

Consumer Hort & Master Gardener Spec
David Close
Saunders 401-C, Virginia Tech
490 West Campus Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Overview

I have a 100% extension appointment within the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences. However, within this appointment, my responsibilities are spread between three overall roles: 1) Program Director for the Extension Master Gardener Program 2) Consumer Horticulture Specialist for Virginia Cooperative Extension and 3) State Program Leader for Agriculture, also for Virginia Cooperative Extension. The following statements briefly explain what I do in each of these specific roles:

Education

  • M.S. Forest Ecology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, 1996
  • B.S. Biology, Cumberland College, 1993

While I may not have an official research appointment, I have served as the principal investigator on a number of grant programs since coming to Virginia Tech. These grants have included work with the National Park Service to develop firewise educational materials, the US Forest Service to create emerald ash borer materials including an online module, and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources office to maintain and expand an urban nutrient management program involving Extension Master Gardeners to mitigate excess nutrients in the Chesapeake Bay.

State Program Leader for Agriculture | (2018 – present)
Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech 

I was hired to serve as the State Program Leader for Agriculture for a three-year term, along with six other extension faculty in similar roles but covering different programmatic areas. State Program Leaders work with the program teams, partners, and stakeholders to further the VCE mission. In particular, we foster more dialogue with program teams, enhance agent/specialist interactions, and provide critical program team direction. Specifically, David is the liaison with the Agronomic Crops & Horticulture, Animal Production, and Pest and Pesticide Management

Consumer Horticulture Specialist | 2012 – present
School of Plant & Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech

I have statewide responsibilities for consumer horticulture related issues. This includes re-establishing horticulture programs with youth audiences through 4-H, FFA, and Master Gardener youth activities as well as with the vocational ag teachers and programs in Virginia. I work to facilitate better relationships with green industry groups to improve educational efforts and communications between independent garden centers and the Extension Master Gardeners to provide improved resources for the gardening public. I also engage with extension agents statewide to address emerging issues they encounter through their local clientele.

Extension Master Gardener Program Director | 2004 - present
School of Plant & Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech

I am responsible for overseeing the Extension Master Gardener State Coordinator’s office and the efforts of the local Master Gardener programs. There are currently more than 60 Master Gardener units statewide covering more than 75 counties and cities within the Commonwealth of Virginia. We currently have approximately 5,000 active volunteer interns and volunteers. In addition to providing and implementing state policy for Master Gardeners, our team also provides logistical support to each of the local units by providing training materials, certificates for local recognition, and awards for statewide recognition for service benchmarks.

Community Forestry Coordinator | 1997 - 2004
Forestry Department, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

  • Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech, 2016
  • Gamma Sigma Delta Extension Award, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech, 2016
  • Epsilon Sigma Phi Administrative Leadership Award, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech, 2015
  • VAAEA Search for Excellence Award, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech, 2008
  • College Award for Outreach Excellence, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech, 2007
  • VAAEA Communication Award, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech, 2006
  1. Bauske, E. M. G. R. Bachman, T. Bewick, L. Bradley, D. Close, R. Durham, and M. H. Meyer. 2015. The case for a national strategic plan for consumer horticulture research, education, and extension. HortTech. 25: 477-479.
  2. Gugercin, S., E. Wiseman, and D.D. Close. 2013. Emerald Ash Borer. iBook http://www.hort.vt.edu/eab. Virginia Cooperative Extension
  3. Reilly, F. and D.D. Close (editors). 2010. Smart Yard Care: Big rewards from small investments in Stewardship. Virginia Cooperative Extension.
  4. Close, D., Likins T., T. Tigner, E. Bush, A. Bordas, C. Calderwood, B. Barco, P. Warren, F. Fulgham, M. Hansen, C. Hong, D. Martin, G. O’Keefe. 2005. Phytophthora ramorum-Educate to Detect. 38 pp.  Virginia Cooperative Extension
  5. Close, D.D., J.S. Fralish, and S.B. Franklin. 2002. The climate, soils, and vegetation of Land Between the Lakes. In: Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky and Tennessee: Four Decades of Tennessee Valley Authority Stewardship. Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN.
  6. Franklin, S.B., J.S. Fralish, and D.D. Close. 2002. History, classification, and effects of disturbance on forest communities in Land Between the Lakes. In: Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky and Tennessee: Four Decades of Tennessee Valley Authority Stewardship. Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN.
  7. Groninger, J.W., D.D. Close, and C.M. Basman. 2002. Can small, rural communities practice urban forestry? Journal of Forestry 100(1): 23-29.
  8. Close, D.D., J.W. Groninger, J.C. Mangun, and P.L. Roth. 2001. Homeowners’ opinions on the practice and effects of topping trees. Journal of Arboriculture 27(3): 160-165.
  9. Close, D. D. and J. W. Groninger (Eds.) 2000. Forestry Principles for Small Communities in Illinois.  Department of Forestry, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Research Publication. NS-007, 193 p.
  10. Karlovich, D.A., J.W. Groninger, and D.D. Close. 2000. Tree condition associated with topping in southern Illinois communities. Journal of Arboriculture 26(2): 87-91.
  11. Fralish, J.S., S.B. Franklin, and D.D. Close.  1999.  The open woodland communities of southern Illinois, western Kentucky and west Tennessee.  In: Savannas, barrens, and rock outcrop plant communities of North America. Cambridge University Press.