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Back by popular demand: Master Gardener Training in Pontiac this fall

Master Gardener Training opportunity coming to Livingston County

PONTIAC, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension and Livingston County Master Gardeners invite those eager to learn about growing vegetables, landscaping, trees, insects, or community and school gardening to join their volunteer training program this fall, for a mind-blowing garden learning experience.

The Master Gardener training program meets every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., starting August 23 thru November 8 ending with our propagation lab. The cost of the training, including the Master Gardener training manual and all classes, is $225. Financial assistance may be available to qualified individuals, please contact us with questions.

The Extension office will be accepting applications for the 2018 Livingston County Master Gardener Training class through July 20. Class size is limited and background check required. Trainees should have the ability to attend all training classes, and the desire to share and teach horticulture throughout your community.

The goal of the Master Gardener volunteer program is to encourage people to grow vegetables and flowers and promote environmental responsibility. In 2017, Livingston County Master Gardeners offered new and or improved programs to their communities including:

  1. Livingston Master Gardeners transformed an overgrown, neglected backyard at the new library in Flanagan into "Polli Nator's Garden," a certified Monarch Waystation and Pollinator Pocket, working with the local high school in the garden installation and seed collection.
  2. Connected with 250 clients at the Pontiac Farmers market, answering questions, proving interactive booths highlighting pollinators, monarchs, and culminating with a pumpkin-decorating contest.
  3. Presented at the 4-H show about insects, the web of life, and soil and water conservation.
  4. Sold holiday centerpieces and held a plant sale to provide funding for plants, signage, education materials and more for community gardens like Dargan Park, Yost House Heirloom Garden, annual pots at the 4-H Park, and Flanagan school garden.

Master Gardener trainees participate in more than 60 hours of classroom instruction that includes basic botany, soils, vegetables and herbs, turf grass, fruits, insects, ornamental flowers, plant diseases and pests, trees, and landscaping. Local and regional horticulture educators and experts teach all classes.

Once training is complete, Master Gardener Interns make an impact on their community by completing a required 60-hour internship through approved volunteer services, which include participating in gardening projects, attending local meetings, answering gardening questions in the Extension office, and giving demonstrations or talks to local groups, and library and school programs.

For more information on this program or additional Extension programming, please contact us at your local Extension office and visit us online at If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Kelly Allsup at (309) 663-8306 or