By KELLY L. KECKAMAN
WARSAW — Looking for something interesting and exciting to do this fall on Tuesday evenings? 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.
This fall, the first class meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22. The first class will serve as an introduction. During this time class materials will be distributed and an opportunity exists to meet current members of the program. The regular classes start Tuesday, Sept. 29 and continue for the next 13 weeks. Sessions will be from 6–9 p.m. in Warsaw at the Purdue Extension Office located in the County Annex at 202 W. Main St.
County and state horticulture specialists and current Master Gardeners will provide the instruction. The registration fee this training is $140 if paid by Sept. 18. This includes the cost for program maintenance, your supplies, one soil test, and reference materials. These materials are yours to keep. Participants are expected to attend all the class sessions, take a final examination, and then complete 36 hours of volunteer service to receive a Master Gardener Certificate.
The volunteer commitment can be fulfilled by helping the Extension Service teach other gardeners by 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.
Are you still interested in becoming a Master Gardener or have any questions? If so, contact the Kosciusko County Extension Office at (574) 372-2340 or stop by the county annex building at 202 W Main Street to get an application packet or visit the county website at www.ag.purdue.edu/counties/kosciusko and click on the Current events page.
Applications are due Sept. 18.