Itch led Ipsan to career change

December 11, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

Although she has a journalism/communications degree, Annette Ipsan said her green thumb began to itch about 10 years ago.

So, she changed career direction rather dramatically.

Among the new faces at the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension office at 7303 Sharpsburg Pike, Ipsan replaces Lori Young who about two years ago replaced veteran Sandy Scott as the Extension educator for horticulture.

Ipsan, 45, grew up in Chambersburg, Pa., and now lives near Rohrersville with her husband and several cats. She is actually living in the same neighborhood as Scott and has been a Master Gardener for years herself.

Now she's running that new program in addition to solving problems with plants and insects, and teaching and speaking to garden clubs and other groups on all kinds of subjects.


When the "itch" first hit, Ipsan took the Master Gardener course but found she wanted to do more.

"The last two years, I worked at Stadler Nursery in Frederick," Ipsan said. That nursery has two locations totaling 400 acres.

While there, she chaired several committees, was an active Master Gardener and member of the speakers bureau, which often involved four or more talks a month.

"I just like to grow things, whether plants or programs," Ipsan said. And she enjoys solving a good mystery from time to time.

Ipsan recalled a woman who came in with a six-inch wasp which was quite interesting. "I checked it out and found that most of the size was ovipositor - thank goodness," she said, meaning it was for laying eggs, not stinging.

"I get to play Sherlock Holmes with plants and insects, unearthing clues as to their identity," she said. "Then I recommend treatment with an eye toward protecting the environment."

The first class of Master Gardeners will begin in February and runs for about a year to qualify.

"I greatly enjoy working with the Master Gardeners, an enthusiastic, accomplished group of volunteers. They give generously of their time and talents to teach people safe, effective ways to garden that build healthier communities," Ipsan said.

As far as teaching is concerned, Ipsan said she has spoken on gardening for birds and hummingbirds, water-wise gardening as well as gardening for people with arthritis and more.

"I'm always preparing new presentations based on groups' interests," Ipsan said.

She said she is eager to serve as a resource for anyone with questions about their garden or landscape. "Whether you have a question about a pest or plant, pruning technique or pesticide, I am here to help," Ipsan said.

For more information, call the Extension office at 301-791-1604.

The Herald-Mail Articles