Shannon Rinow, new Master Gardener Volunteer Program Coordinator for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties

Shannon Rinow, new Master Gardener Volunteer Program Coordinator

CCE Chautauqua & Cattaraugus Partner for Success

JAMESTOWN, NEW YORK (January 12, 2022) -- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties have partnered together to bolster the Master Gardener Volunteer program in each of our counties. While the program in Chautauqua has been successful for several years now, it lacked the dedicated staff support that it deserves. Cattaraugus is currently redeveloping a Master Gardener Volunteer Program. “The Partnership just made sense” remarked Emily Reynolds, Executive Director of Chautauqua County, she continued “Partnerships like this help Cornell Cooperative Extension meet the needs of the residents of our counties.”

CCE is very excited to welcome Shannon Rinow as Program Coordinator. She has provided a brief biography to introduce herself.

“My name is Shannon Rinow, and I am so excited to begin this new adventure as your new Master Gardener Volunteer Program Coordinator for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties! Since I was a young girl, gardening and agriculture have been a passion of mine. I recall helping tie posts at my grandparent’s grape farm at a young age and harvesting vegetables and flowers from their home garden. I have had my own garden for the past decade, and each summer as the sweet smell of peonies return after a long winter, it always brings me back to those younger years helping at my grandparents' farm.

What seems like a lifetime ago, I was a young mother with a recently obtained GED from Erie Community College. Unsure where to go from there, I enrolled in night classes where I obtained my Associates degree a couple years later. I enjoyed my experience at the college so much, that I was determined to start my career there where I can help others provide a better life for themselves. A few short years later in 2008, I got my wish and landed a job in the Financial Aid office at Erie Community College as a Job Developer and Financial Aid advisor. In this role, I had the honor of helping students navigate the financial aid process to help them secure funding for their future career aspirations. Under the Federal Work Study program, which awarded funding for low-income students, I was able to extend employment opportunities to students on and off campus to gain invaluable skills and help them generate revenue to offset the costs of their education. Over the 6 years in the financial aid department, I placed hundreds of students in positions that helped prepare them for jobs in their career field. It brings me such joy hearing from these students years later and how their time at the college was so meaningful to them.

In 2014, I was offered a position to oversee the Parking and Transportation program, where I have spent the past 7 years. It was during this time I simultaneously took night classes and obtained my bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo. In this capacity, I coordinated and administered a million-dollar transportation program for upwards of 10,000 students. I value the challenges this position provided me and the opportunity to collaborate with community members and stakeholders to reduce our carbon footprint on campus.

In recent years, I co-own and operate a small suburban farm, Bee Happy Farm & Apothecary, alongside my husband, Mike and two sons, Mason (13) and Kyle (19), where I am a beekeeper and raise livestock (pigs, sheep, goats, poultry). We love the quirky personalities of our animals and have learned so much as their caretakers. Each day is an adventure and always something new! My family and I are in the process of relocating to Ashville, NY from Amherst, NY, a suburb right outside of Buffalo. We purchased a small fixer-upper farm where we plan to expand and grow organic vegetables and cut flowers. In my free time, I enjoy speaking to our community about the importance of honeybees and advocating for environmental and land stewardship. On any given day, you can catch me bottle feeding an orphaned piglet, nursing a sick chicken back to health or caring for new ducks in my living room! There is always something to do or someone in need, and I would not want it any other way.

I recently learned to crochet and have a fondness for spinning wool (although I am still learning!) and making homemade soaps and wreaths. I love the simple joys of homesteading and no matter how many days, months, and years go by, I am equally as excited to get fresh eggs from my chicken coop as the first day! Cornell Cooperative Extension has been an invaluable resource to me, and I am grateful to be a part of giving back to our community.”

Mrs. Rinow will begin her work with CCE in February, please join us in welcoming her. She can be reached at

The Master Gardener Volunteer Program is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE-Chautauqua). CCE-Chautauqua is a subordinate governmental agency with an educational mission that operates under a form of organization and administration approved by Cornell University as agent for the State of New York. It is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The association is part of the national cooperative extension system, an educational partnership between County, State, and Federal governments. As New York’s land grant university Cornell administers the system in this state. Each Cornell Cooperative Extension association is an independent employer that is governed by an elected Board of Directors with general oversight from Cornell. All associations work to meet the needs of the counties in which they are located as well as state and national goals. For more information, call 716-664-9502 or visit our website at Cornell University Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.

Last updated January 12, 2022