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David Shiley
Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
University of Illinois Extension
122 S Walnut St
Arthur, IL 61911
Phone: 217-543-3755
FAX: 217-543-3757

Coles County Master Gardeners

Coles County Master Gardeners

2017 Master Gardener Training Info & Application

Thank you for expressing interest in the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener volunteer program! This unique program combines horticulture education with community service. Participants receive 60 hours of instruction from University of Illinois horticulture specialists and educators, with the agreement to return 60 hours of volunteer service through their local Master Gardener program over the following two years.

Volunteer service is divided between office work and community projects. Office work consists primarily of researching answers to horticulture questions submitted by area residents, organizing resources, and preparing diagnostic reports for mailing or computer submission. Community project work varies depending upon the skills and interests of the Master Gardener volunteer, but may include activities such as 4-H youth project judging, civic group presentations, writing newspaper articles, or hands-on work at the local Master Gardener project sites such as the Idea Garden.

Applications will be accepted through Friday December 16. Qualified applicants will be interviewed in person to ensure that their personal goals are a good fit for the program's mission and goals. All training sessions will be held at the Coles County Extension office located at 707 Windsor Road, Charleston, IL 61920. As indicated on the 2017 Training Schedule below, sessions are scheduled on Tuesday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. beginning January 24 and ending April 11, 2017.  The cost of the volunteer training option is $150, most of which goes toward the purchase of the Master Gardener reference manual.

There is also a non-volunteer option available for a fee of $300. Please note that on the application if you are interested in this option.

Click here for the Master Gardener application. Please return your application to Coles County Extension office, 707 Windsor Road, Suite A, Charleston, IL 61920 by Friday, December 16. Please feel free to call 217/345-7034 with any questions you might have.

Master Gardener Training schedule 2017


All Sessions are on Tuesdays at the Coles County Extension office in Charleston.

Classes start at 9:00 a.m. with instruction from 9:15 until 3:30 p.m.

There will be short morning and afternoon breaks, as well as a one-hour lunch break (12-1 p.m.). Participants may bring a lunch or go off-site for the noon meal. 

January 24 - Botany (Martha Smith) and Orientation (Local staff)

January 31 – Insects (Phil Nixon)

February 7- Trees, Shrubs, and Vines (Kari Houle, Kelly Allsup, Chris Enroth)

February 14 - Soils (Duane Friend)

February 21 - Annuals and Perennials (Martha Smith, Candice Miller)

February 28 – Lawns (Chris Enroth, David Robson)

March 7 - Diseases and Diagnosis (Richard Hentschel, Ken Johnson)

March 14 - 9:00 AM-Noon Wildlife (Dave Shiley) 

                    1-4:00 PM Organic Gardening and Composting (Sandy Mason)

March 21 - Vegetables (Elizabeth Wahle, Bruce Black and Jennifer Fishburn)

March 28 - Fruits (Elizabeth Wahle, Bruce Black and Andrew Holsinger)

April 4 - 9:00 AM-Noon Integrated Pest Management (Kim Ellson)

                PM - MG volunteering (Sandy Mason and local staff)

April 11 – Graduation luncheon and local garden tour(s)