Are you looking for a way to learn more about gardening, meet people with common interests, and give back to the community? Well, I have an idea for you – the Master Gardener program might be a great fit. Don't be intimidated by the title; people of all gardening abilities and interests are welcome. What you do need is a desire to learn more and willingness to become an Extension volunteer. Some of the trainings include: Annuals/Perennials, Trees/Shrubs, Vegetables/Fruits, Soils, Pest & Diseases and more. The classes won't answer every question or equip you for every garden/lawn/tree/insect/disease situation but they sure will give you a good foundation to work from. You will have a better understanding of resources available, important questions to ask about horticulture problems or solutions and a network of others with diverse gardening experience. Oh, did I mention how fun the classes can be? It's hard not to enjoy spending time with individuals who have shared interests.
Master Gardener training lasts for 11-weeks, starting January 22 and finishes April 2 in Macon, Piatt & DeWitt counties. Our trainings are split between Decatur & Springfield. If you live in another county, check with your local Extension office regarding their specific training, as the schedule & format varies throughout the state. An online version of the class is also available if you are not available during the day. If you have questions about your options for training please feel free to contact me.
Following the training there is a 60-hour volunteer commitment that should be completed in a little less than 2 years (April 2015 – December 2016) following the completion of your training. Typically trainees have no problem completing these hours within the first year. Volunteer opportunities vary by county.
If you want a few more specifics check our website or review the Unit 17 Master Gardener Brochure. You can access the Master Gardener application on our website or request to have a paper version mailed to you. Applications are due November 21, 2014. Come be part of "helping other learn to grow!" All the while meeting new people & having a little fun while you're at it.