By JEFF BURBRINK
Extension Educator, Purdue Extension Elkhart County
Fourteen local people have completed the first phase of the Purdue Master Gardener program in Elkhart County.
Jeff Burbrink, Extension Educator with the Purdue Extension Service in Elkhart County and coordinator of the local Master Gardener program, explained that Master Gardeners is a volunteer training program, not just a series of gardening classes. Participants have been attending training for the past four months and have passed an exam.
The participants will now be giving volunteer time back to the community in exchange for the knowledge they have gained. The focus of the volunteer time is education, with the intent of making our community a better place to live.
The Master Gardener class of 2014 is planning to offer several seminars this winter and spring on gardening related subjects. Brochures for the Master Gardener seminars will be available soon at local garden centers in Elkhart County.
“It has been fun watching this group gel,” Burbrink said. “They have been working enthusiastically on their winter seminars. I have a feeling this class is going to have some memorable seminars this year.”
In addition, Master Gardeners are available to help with groups in the community, including schools, service clubs and church groups. The Master Gardeners operate a horticultural hotline at the Extension Office from April through September each year. About 1000 horticultural questions were answered in 2014 through the hotline.
This is the 20th Master Gardener class held in Elkhart County since the program was started in 1996. Burbrink suggested that interested people call Purdue Extension Office in Goshen at (574) 533-0554 to be placed on a mailing list for an application for the next class to be offered this fall.
Members of the 2014 Elkhart County Master Gardener class are Vickie Boyle, Bristol; Tori Fehl, Wakarusa; Connie Garber, Goshen; Gary Graber, Bristol; Beth Graber, Bristol; Lisa Holmes, Union; Judy Jordan, Elkhart; Nick Jordan, Elkhart; Debbie Mann, Goshen; Meg Mitzel, Elkhart; Bud Mosier, Elkhart; Jean Muehlfelt, Elkhart; Kathy Radican, South Bend; and Jenny Schrock, Goshen.