Master Gardeners are a corps of volunteers in New York State who are trained by Cornell Cooperative Extension in the science and art of gardening.
In Columbia and Greene Counties, Master Gardener volunteers are an integral component of the counties' outreach program in educating:
- Home gardeners
- 4-H Clubs
- Youth in after-school programs
- Community gardeners
- Gardening clubs and other groups
Projects and functions carried out by Master Gardeners are based on educational priorities. Some of the ways in which Master Gardeners have been involved include:
- Answering horticultural inquiries on the telephone
- Researching and answering letters
- Writing articles about gardening
- Setting up demonstration projects in public places
- School gardens
- Community improvement projects
- Horticultural therapy
- Organizing plant sales and public events
- County fair informational booths
- Increasing awareness of integrated pest management, water quality conservation and other environmental issues
For further information about the Master Gardener program, please contact:
Meet Master Gardener Volunteer Dr. Anna Stein Kadish
Anna’s parents fled Poland during the second world war by the most unusual path and were helped along the way by the most unlikely of benefactors. After making their way from Krakow, Poland to Lithuania they applied for transit visas from the Japanese Consul in Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania Mr. Chiune Sugihara. Sugihara issued the visas to her family and also to other Jewish refugees fleeing the holocaust even though the Japanese government did not give him permission to do so. The route, a two-year odyssey, took the family of 17 refugees across the Soviet Union including Siberia in the dead of winter where Anna’s grandmother lost two toes from frostbite!!
Upon reaching Japan, prior to Pearl Harbor, they boarded a Japanese freighter bound for Chile. When the ship reached the Pacific coast of Mexico, with the help of the Japanese ship doctor and Anna’s father, also a physician, the family was put in quarantine. From there the family went to Mexico City where Anna was born on February 27th 1942. After 2 years in Mexico, the family crossed the Rio Grande River to Texas on Thanksgiving Day of that same year.
Growing up in New York City, Anna attended public grade school and later Hunter College High School. She then attended Barnard College of Columbia University where she majored in Physics. Following that she went to medical school, receiving her medical degree from Harvard in 1967.
After completing her residency in Pathology at Bronx Municipal Hospital—now the Jacobi Medical Center—she joined the faculty of The Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Departments of Pathology and Obstetrics and Gynecology where she spent many years researching the immunobiology of genital carcinoma and studying the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Anna’s research helped develop the cervical cancer vaccine. She has been designated one of the country’s experts on cervical tumors (Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia or CIN) and cancer of the uterus. This award highlights physicians who are proficient publishers on a specific disease, disorder, or medical condition. The top 15% of publishers on a specific topic are honored with this recognition.
Anna has always been a lover of nature and interested in biology and botany, Anna and her husband bought a house in Columbia County in 1978 and she became a Master Gardener Volunteer in 2005. Once she became a Master Gardener, Anna used her expertise by researching toxic plants, beneficial insects, pests and plant pathogens and the genetic differences between annual and perennial plants to name but a few topics.
This research became the basis of some very interesting Spring Gardening Day lectures. Anna and her husband are very aware of being good land stewards and have a field of Little Bluestem native grass on their property in Taghkanic, something which is quite rare in Columbia County. They also installed solar panels on their property to help save resources.
If you would like to learn more about the Japanese consul, Chiune Sugihara, and Anna’s family here is a link to a YouTube video made by an Australian television network which shows a play (The Warrior and the Princess) about him and the families that he helped. Anna’s aunt Lilly Singer is interviewed as well as Anna. It's estimated there are now more than 40,000 descendants alive today because of Sugihara’s bravery. It is an amazing story.
The Warrior and the Princess – a play