Skip to Main Content

Purdue appoints new consumer horticulture extension specialist

K

aren Mitchell’s passion for plants and the environment permeates into every part of her life, professionally and personally.

“I always had an interest in the ecosystem, how things interact and how food is made. As a child, I would refer to my hamburgers as cow burgers because I thought you should recognize that it’s not made of ham or from a pig,” said Mitchell.

Her curiosity led her to 18 and counting years of learning at Purdue University beginning as an undergraduate studying horticulture. She pursued her master’s in botany and plant pathology and then served as the agriculture and natural resources educator for the Tippecanoe County Extension office for six years.

“As a student, I was outspoken about the value of plants in our environment, leading me to think about a career in extension. Being a county extension educator provided me the opportunity to keep learning and then share that knowledge directly with county residents.”

Recently appointed as the consumer horticulture Extension specialist in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Mitchell views this career change as an exciting opportunity to share her love and knowledge with others. She intends to work with colleagues and industry members to create an advisory committee, perform a needs assessment and keep Purdue Extension as a leader in horticulture resources and research.

“At the end of the day, I want to show people the value of plants and the environment. Gardening isn’t always easy and many times we work against nature instead of alongside nature. My goal is to help homeowners and gardeners understand the entire lifecycle of plants and pests, including weeds, so they can make sustainable decisions.”

In addition to answering questions from gardeners, Mitchell envisions making Extension’s horticulture resources accessible for all. She hopes to update materials to be more mobile friendly and translate them into other languages, including Spanish. She’s also interested in connecting with new homeowners who are learning how to take care of their lawns and gardens for the first time.

“Purdue Extension is about making local connections and working with my community to make it a better place. As the horticulture sector sees a mindset change to working with nature instead of against it, I’m here to help Hoosiers navigate climate change, erratic weather, invasive species and more in their backyards.”

Featured Stories

tulips in garden
Purdue Extension Master Gardener program to offer virtual basic training in spring

The spring 2023 Purdue Extension Master Gardener (EMG) basic training program will begin Feb. 7...

Read More
ice on branches
Wet winter predicted for Indiana, plus white Christmas predictions

Wetter conditions across the state of Indiana are favored for the meteorological winter months of...

Read More
turkey cooked
How to Cook a Turkey the Day before Serving it

Sometimes it may be easier to prepare your turkey the day before you plan to serve it. Here is...

Read More
Christian Butzke receiving 2022 APLU North Central Region Excellence in Extension Award
USDA, APLU & Cooperative Extension Award Top Honor to Purdue Extension Enologist

Christian Butzke, Purdue Extension Enologist, Purdue Food Science professor and Purdue...

Read More
wheat
2022 Tri-state CSA Conference: Thinking Inside the Box coming soon

Thinking Inside the Box, the 2022 Tri-state CSA Conference is the place to be November 12-13....

Read More
Capital Comments
Cost of Living Adjustments

Inflation has been so low for so long that we hardly noticed them. Now inflation is the highest...

Read More
To Top