AMES, Iowa – Home gardeners and plant enthusiasts can always receive helpful tips and questions answered from Iowa State University’s Outreach and Outreach.
Aaron Steil, newly appointed Mainstream Horticultural Extension Specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, is working on a new delivery method that will allow county extension staff to provide responses locally.
Steil started the new position in June, following the retirement of horticultural specialist Richard Jauron. Steil previously worked as an assistant manager at Reiman Gardens and taught a horticulture lab course for a decade.
âMy hope is to really work to create resources and training for county staff that give them the information and confidence to answer gardening questions that come to their county offices,â he said.
Gardening issues are among the most common reasons people seek extension advice, according to Steil, and these interactions have the potential to develop into long-term relationships with extension and outreach.
A popular resource for county staff and gardeners is the Horticulture and Home Pest News website, which provides timely information on horticulture and yard and garden topics. The content is organized by category, with easy access to videos, frequently asked questions, a gardening encyclopedia, and many other resources.
Steil said he plans to improve the availability of information provided online and will also speak with county staff to learn more about their needs across the state.
He also does outreach through “Gardening with Steil” on Iowa PBS and on “Talk of Iowa” on Iowa Public Radio, which provides horticultural tips every Friday.
He received his bachelor’s degree in horticulture and biology from Iowa State in 2005, and his master’s degree in public horticulture from the University of Delaware in 2007.
âI’ve always had this interest in working with gardening and people,â Steil said. âMy role at Reiman Gardens has allowed me to do this for many years and this new role will also allow me to work with gardening and people. “
Steil said one of the things he loves about gardening is the way he changes. Each year leads to new ideas, new products and opportunities for improvement.
âNo garden is ever perfect,â he said. âThere is always something new to learn and there is always a new challenge to face and hopefully to learn. I just think this whole process is a lot of fun.
For more information, Steil can be contacted at 515-294-8953 or [email protected]