WARSAW — If you have a passion for gardening and enjoy teaching others how to grow plants, the Purdue Extension Service has a class for you.
The Purdue Extension Master Gardener class is a volunteer training program designed to teach people a wide array of information about growing plants. In exchange for the classes, Master Gardeners volunteer to share their knowledge with others in the community, with the end goal of making the community a better place to live. Master Gardener volunteers are required to give a minimum of 40 hours back to the community upon completing the classroom portion of the program, and passing an exam.
The fall 2020 Purdue Extension Master Gardener class will be held on Tuesdays, beginning Aug. 25 and run through mid-December. To accommodate for the Covid-19 pandemic, Master Gardener classes will be taught virtually this fall.
Kelly Heckaman, Purdue Extension Educator and Kosciusko County Master Gardener program coordinator, noted the program will be held online from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. ET. The teachers, who are Extension specialists at Purdue University or Extension Educators from across Indiana, will offer classes on topics like soils, fertility, pest control, invasive species, pesticide safety and alternatives, trees, vegetables, flowers, lawns and fruit.
There will be a one-hour weekly online meeting with local participants, to learn how the topic of the week applies to local gardeners.
“Indiana has several growing zones, many soil types, and differences in rainfall,” said Heckaman, who has coordinated Master Gardener Education for over twenty years. “Our goal is to provide local connection to this state wide educational effort to teach participants how this applies to where they live.” This additional hour will be offered on Thursday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Kosciusko County is working with St. Joseph and Marshall counties to offer the local one-hour program.
“I am excited to work with Bob Yoder, Marshall County educator, and Rachel Rawls, St. Joseph County educator,” Heckaman commented “They both are knowledgeable with horticulture experience and will enhance our local programming.”
The local hour will provide a venue for participants from these counties to interact and learn from each other.
The cost of the program will be $175 for an individual registration with a printed version of the Purdue Master Gardener manual. Individuals can also purchase an optional digital version of the manual on a thumb drive if desired. For $270.00, two people living in the same household can share a print version of the Purdue EMG Manual.
To apply for the program, please visit https://tinyurl.com/MGKosApp and read the Purdue Extension Master Gardener Program Policy Guide. Then complete, sign, and return the volunteer application and agreement and send it to the Purdue Extension Office in Kosciusko county. Kosciusko County mail application to MGA, 202 West Main Street, Warsaw, IN 46580 or e-mailed to [email protected] (574) 372-2340.
All Master Gardener applicants will be required to show evidence of a government issued photo ID to their local County Coordinator or designated Purdue Extension staff. This can be done virtually or in-person. Upon confirmation of acceptance of your application and providing evidence of government issued photo ID, an online registration link will be sent to participants to complete the registration and payment.
Once you complete this class, you will need to complete your volunteer hours to become a Master Gardener. These counties all have local Master Gardener Associations that are active. These associations have annual projects that can aid you in completing the 40 volunteer hours. These associations, regional events and state events will provide opportunities to expand your horticulture knowledge as well. Being a Master Gardener allows you to grow through the Purdue Master Gardener Program and while making friends in the association. Take advantage of this on-line Master Gardener Intern Training and start your journey to becoming a better gardener and sharing your expertise with others.