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McLean County Master Gardener Training

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Would you like to learn about growing vegetables, landscaping, trees, insects or turfgrass from the University of Illinois Extension? The McLean County Master Gardeners want you to join their training program this winter and take you on a amazing garden learning experience to find your inner gardener. The Master Gardener program is a great opportunity to enrich your gardening knowledge, make a difference in the community and meet others who share your love of plants and gardening. The only requirements are that you enjoy plants and gardening and are happy to share your knowledge with others.

During Master Gardener training, you will have the opportunity to learn from University of Illinois educators and specialists about the many aspects of gardening. The educators are University of Illinois professionals who present class material in a manner that is useful and understandable to both the seasoned or novice gardener. Classes are held on fourteen consecutive Wednesdays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning February 4 and running through May 6. The classes will be held at the University of Illinois Extension McLean County office. Topics include botany, herbaceous ornamentals, woody ornamentals, vegetables, fruits, soils, turf, insects, plant pathology, and more. The cost of the 14-week class and the Master Gardener training manual is $175.

If you are interested in the program but are unable to attend the traditional classes, there is also an on-line option that runs January through April. The on-line training allows you to complete the training at times that fit your schedule.

After training, Master Gardener interns agree to give at least 60 volunteer hours back to the community within the next two years. Many have said this "hands-on" experience is what really increases their understanding of gardening. There are many volunteering in the Master Gardener organization by working in the gardens, serving at the Master Gardener Help Desk, giving educational presentations, working with youth and more!

This year we are honored to have well-known Horticulture educator and Mid-American Gardener guest host, Sandy Mason, present on Woody Ornamentals. Mason writes gardening column for the News Gazette in Champaign-Urbana called the Homeowner's Column.

Local Horticulture Educator, Kelly Allsup, will teach the trainees how implement integrated pest management practices in their gardens while managing for wildlife and pollinators. Local Foods System Educator, Bill Davison will share his expertise on growing fruits in your back yard. Local Horticulture Program Coordinator, Brittnay Haag will guide you and assist you throughout the entire training class. Make an impact on McLean County through volunteerism and educational opportunities for all.

For more information about the Master Gardener training offered in McLean County this winter, please contact the McLean County Extension office at (309) 663-8306 or email Brittnay Haag at All applications for the training must be received by November 1.

Spend your winter learning more about garden by joining the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener training!