Apply Now To Become A Pine County Master Gardener

Friday, September 30th, 2011 at 11:20 am

Anyone with an active interest in plants and gardening and who is willing to volunteer to share what they know and learn in a University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener Core Course is encouraged to apply to become a Pine County Master Gardener. The Master Gardener Core Course is being offered this winter at the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus January 14 to February 9th. Sessions will be held on Tuesday and Thursdays from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. and on Saturdays between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will also be offered by internet online between January 9 and May 4, 2012 with a new topic each week.

The core course consists of 48 hours of classroom instruction conducted by University of Minnesota Extension faculty on a dozen basic topics. They include: best management practices on lawn care; trees and shrubs; insect, disease and weed control; soil science and plant nutrition; fruits; vegetables; houseplants, perennials and annual flowers; wildlife and others. Along with classroom training, a comprehensive textbook, CD and a notebook with some 75 Extension publications and Yard & Garden Briefs are provided as references to participants. The cost of the materials is included in the registration fee.

After completing the core course, training continues with an internship with the Pine County Extension Office and Master Gardener program. It consists of 50 hours of volunteer time donated to County Extension program to be completed within the first year of program participation. Master Gardeners work with their county Master Gardeners to determine needs and specific volunteer opportunities and activities.

Typical volunteer activities that Master Gardeners are involved in include: planning and answering gardening questions at the farmer’s market, county fair booth, horticulture day, plant sale and other community events. Other possibilities include: writing a newspaper column on a gardening topic; helping youth with Junior Master Gardener hands-on sessions and garden plots; helping to coordinate a community garden; holding community education classes; doing a radio interview, planning a garden tour, working with the elderly, and more.

Master Gardeners become certified upon completion of the first year 50 hour internship. In future years, Master Gardeners need to volunteer 25 hours and complete 5-12 hours of continuing horticulture education through the county Extension office to remain an active Master Gardener.

To become a Master Gardener, one needs to first sign-up and be accepted into their local county program. For more information and to apply to take the Core Course, contact Pine County Master Gardener Program Coordinator Terry Salmela at the Pine County Extension Office at 1-800-657-3813 Ext. #3 or at 612-390-3149 or by email at by November 10th.

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