Q&A with Donna Aufdenberg

Horticulture field specialist Donna Aufdenberg supports horticulture programming in 18 counties in Southeast Missouri.

woman in a black Mizzou polo repots a plant

What do you do in your current role with the University of Missouri?

A woman is standing at the front of a classroom presenting to an audience.
Donna enjoys teaching an herb class in Oregon County.

I am a field specialist in horticulture based in Cape Girardeau County. I serve the 18 counties in the Southeast region of Missouri.

How long have you worked in this position?

I have been with University of Missouri Extension for almost 20 years. My anniversary date is in June!

two girls are planting flowers in the dirt.
Donna helps her daughters with their cut-flower trial for a 4H project in “floriculture.”

What is your favorite part about the work you do?

My favorite part of my work is helping homeowners and commercial growers solve gardening problems. I also love teaching youth about gardening and creating opportunities for hands-on learning. I love teaching about herb gardening, seed starting and creating salad boxes.

How are you helping MU A&E Extension reach our #2xAg2030 goal?

I assist home gardeners and commercial growers with plant information, provide answers to plant problems and interpret soil test results. This helps Missouri reach the #2xAg2030 goal by teaching growers best management practices for limiting diseases and insect outbreaks, applying nutrients, increasing yields and preserving our resources.

Three paintings of tigers
In her free time, Donna loves to paint tigers, wildlife and flowers.

What is something your CAFNR and MU Extension teammates may not know about you?

Most people know I am obsessed with anything horticulture, but they don’t know that I love to draw and paint wildlife and flowers if I can find time to do it. I also love to paint tigers. Imagine that…. I must really be an MU fan!

What is your hometown, place of high school graduation and degrees/universities?

I spent the first 10 years of my life in Linn County, Missouri, but then my family moved to Southern Illinois. I graduated from Century High School in Ullin, Illinois.  I attended Shawnee Community College for an associate degree, Southeast Missouri State University for my bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science with an emphasis in horticulture, and Southern Illinois University for my master’s degree in plant and soil science with an emphasis in horticulture.

The Agriculture and Environment Program is a partnership between MU Extension and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.