Extension Educator, Horticulture and Ada County Chair
University of Idaho Extension, Ada County
5880 N Glenwood Street
Boise, ID 83714
Susan is a leader in consumer and commercial horticultural education and provides practical educational programming for Ada County (Boise) and surrounding counties. Susan collaborates with Extension faculty in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon, along with state and county agencies, city departments, and private businesses and civic groups to deliver programming. She directs a variety of Idaho Master Gardener programs and trains and supervises 100 volunteers annually.
M.A., Interdisciplinary Studies, Oregon State University, 1985
M.S., Horticulture, Southern Illinois University, 1978
- Volunteer development
- Urban horticulture
- Sustainable garden & landscape practices
- Home vegetable & fruit production
- Soil improvement & composting
- Xeriscaping (water efficient landscaping)
Susan has authored or co-authored over 30 handbook chapters, manuals, journal articles and Extension publications. The following are some examples.
- Guggenheim, R. and S. Bell. 2017. Plant Disease Diagnosing and Management. Chapter 13, Idaho Master Gardener Handbook.
- Young, M. and S. Bell. 2016. Plant Management: Choosing, Planting and Maintaining Plants. Chapter 7, Idaho Master Gardener Handbook.
- Bell, S.M. and L.D. McKay. 2015. Turfgrass Establishment and Managements. Chapter 15, Idaho Master Gardener Handbook.
- Jensen, J., S. Bell, W. Bohl, and S. Love. 2012. Basic Botany. Chapter 3, Idaho Master Gardener Handbook.
- Love, S., K. Noble, S. Parkinson, and S. Bell, S. 2009. Herbaceous Ornamentals: Annuals, Perennials, and Ornamental Grasses. Short Season High Altitude Gardening Manual.
- Robbins, J.A. and S.M. Bell, 2008. Introduction to Horticulture & Plant Physiology. Chapter 2, Idaho Master Gardener Handbook.
- Bell, S.M. and J. Rylee, 2006. Master Composter Training Manual.
- Bell, S.M., 2001. Plant Propagation. Chapter 4, Idaho Master Gardener Handbook.
- McCammon T.A. and S.M. Bell. 2014. Trees for Southwestern Idaho Landscapes: Selection and Irrigation. UI Extension Bulletin 884.
- Agenbroad, A. and Bell, S. 2011. Idaho Plant Quarantines and the Home Garden: Understanding the Law. UI CIS 1183.
- Moore, A., Bauer, M., Agenbroad, A., and Bell, S. 2011. Using Soil Test Results for Garden Fertilization. UI CIS 1186.
- Neibling, H., M. Colt, S. M. Bell, and J. Robbins. 2003. Watering: Home Lawns and Landscapes. UI CIS 1098.
Susan enjoys teaching and has been an innovative educator for many years. She puts creativity into a curriculum. Susan emphasizes practical horticulture knowledge and encourages hands-on learning. She initiated the first Advanced Master Gardener course in the Pacific Northwest in 1986 and the first Master Composter course in Idaho in 1993. Susan worked with her students to establish and maintain 12 educational display gardens and a compost demonstration site at UI Extension, Ada County office.
Susan hosted a weekly television gardening show for 5 years for two Idaho television stations — KBCI-TV Channel 2 (1989-1991) and KTVB-TV Channel 7 (1991-1992). She was a garden columnist for 7 years with the Idaho Statesman (1988-1992) and the Boise Weekly newspapers (2003-2006). She also wrote feature articles on gardening for the Idaho Business Review (2005-2007). Her mass media efforts reached regional audiences from Southern Idaho and Eastern Oregon to Northern Nevada. Today, Susan encourages her Master Gardener students to share horticultural knowledge globally through the Ada County Master Gardener Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts. When Susan isn’t teaching or talking about horticulture with someone, she can be found tending her gardens out on her farm.
Susan has been recognized for her educational efforts with 21 national, regional, state and civic awards, including state awards for Excellence in Extension, Excellence in Outreach, the UI Diversity Award and the UI Office Marketing Award. Her 28 year collaborative team effort teaching a series of annual workshops on water conservation in landscapes with Boise’s largest water purveyor, won the team a National Education Award from the American Water Works Association in 2010.