Article by Kelly Heckaman Purdue Extension Office
Looking for something interesting and exciting to do this fall? Do you enjoying working in the garden? Helping others beautify the community? Do you want to help teach others about horticulture by volunteering your time?
If so, then the Master Gardener program is for you. During this program you can learn all about horticulture: plant science, plant nutrition, soils, pesticides, insect pests, vegetables, flowers, fruits, lawns and much more.
The first class meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27, and will serve as an introduction. During this time class materials will be distributed and an opportunity exists to meet current members of the program. Regular classes will start Tuesday, Sept. 3, and continue until Tuesday, Dec. 3. Sessions will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Purdue Extension Office, 202 W. Main St., Warsaw.
County and state horticulture specialists and current “Master Gardeners” will provide the instruction. The early bird fee for this training is $140 if paid by Tuesday, Aug. 13. From Wednesday, Aug. 14-20, the fee is $165. This includes the cost for program maintenance, supplies, one soil test, a “Master Gardener T-shirt” and reference materials. These materials are yours to keep.
Participants are expected to attend all class sessions, take a final examination and complete 40 hours of volunteer service to receive a Master Gardener certificate. The volunteer commitment can be fulfilled by helping the Extension Service teach other gardeners, giving talks to community organizations, plant clinics, staffing fair booths and similar services. Participants are free to decide what area of service they want to work in to obtain volunteer hours.
The Master Gardener program is one way that the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service puts knowledge to work and helps people grow throughout Indiana. This volunteer program helps gardeners grow by providing them with intensive training in horticultural principles. Participants, in turn, share their knowledge by providing volunteer leadership and service to their communities.
Applicants should realize that this is not a credit gardening course for the general public. Candidates should be interested in educating others in the community about gardening, willing to work to achieve educational goals of Purdue Extension and, above all, have a willingness and ability to communicate and cooperate with others in group settings to achieve those goals. Potential applicants may be interviewed to determine their level of interest in the program.
Those interested in the program should call 574-372-2340, stop by the Extension Office or visit www.ag.purdue.edu/counties/kosciusko and click on the Master Gardener page for application information.