By NANCY BORKHOLDER
Purdue Extension Elkhart County
Applications for the 2015 fall Elkhart County Master Gardener program are now available. Since 1996, over 500 people have participated in the Master Gardener program in Elkhart County. This will be the 20th year of the program in Elkhart County, with 21 programs being offered over that time frame. The Purdue University Extension Service of Elkhart County sponsors the program.
Jeff Burbrink, Purdue Extension Educator and coordinator of the program, said that Master Gardeners is a volunteer training program. Those accepted into the program receive training on various gardening and horticulture subjects, and use that training for various community service projects. Master Gardeners participate in numerous activities in the community, including the local Garden Tour on July 11 on Elkharts southeast side, speaking to a number of community groups, working at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, and assisting with community garden projects. Burbrink said the best Master Gardener candidates are people who enjoy helping other people as well as doing gardening.
Those interested in the Master Gardener volunteer program must complete an application. Class size is limited to 32 people. The first class of the series will begin Tuesday, Aug. 18 with the final class wrapping up in mid-December. Most of the 18 training sessions will be held on Tuesday afternoons this fall. Classes will be held from 1-4:30 p.m. The cost of the program is $175 per person. Classes are taught by Purdue University Extension professionals, local experts or certified Master Gardeners, and are held at the Elkhart County Extension Office on the fairgrounds in Goshen. More details about the training are included with the application.
Applications can be obtained in several locations in Elkhart County. In Goshen, the Purdue Extension Service office is located on the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds. Applications are also available online at extension.purdue.edu.