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

gardening hands holding onto weeds
Free Purdue weed science field day for farmers

Join Purdue experts for the Purdue Weed Science field day on June 30 beginning at 8 a.m. (ET) at...

Read More
livestock
Livestock producers invited to Purdue Fencing School

Livestock producers are invited to learn about the latest fencing techniques at the Purdue...

Read More
Canned food
Discover home food preservation with Purdue Extension

Home canners are encouraged to join Purdue Extension for the Mastering Home Food Preservation...

Read More
Indiana farmer planting cover corps at ACRE
Purdue to host agronomic scouting training for interns

Interns at agricultural companies are invited to attend a Field Scout Intern Training event...

Read More
Indiana farmer planting cover corps at ACRE
Kernels of Knowledge: The A-Maizing Growth of Corn in Indiana

Agriculture is a vital component of Indiana’s history, culture and future. Discover the...

Read More
national garden day web banner
Four Tips to Grow Your Garden

April showers bring May flowers and summer produce that you can devour! Whether you’re a...

Read More
To Top