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Extension Educator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
402 Ava Rd.
Murphysboro, IL 62966
Unit 26 Master Gardeners
Master Gardeners are volunteers who provide service to the community by addressing common horticulture problems and questions. They share their special interests in horticulture and the skills they acquire in Master Gardener training with the community in various ways. They answer plant and gardening questions from homeowners. They help design and operate exhibits, displays and demonstrations. Also, they make presentations to both large and small groups.
Although no background in horticulture is required for acceptance into the program, participants are required to complete the Master Gardener training. They receive a minimum of 60 hours of in-depth classroom training on topics such as soils, botany, entomology, pathology, landscaping, and fruit and vegetable production. They also gain practical experience by attending field trips and workshops. In addition, Master Gardeners gain public relations, teaching and communication experience.
In return for this intensive training, Master Gardeners donate at least 60 hours of volunteer horticulture-related service to Unit 26 which covers Franklin, Jackson, Perry, Randolph, and Williamson counties.
Testimonies from the 2017 Master Gardener Class
One of my goals upon entering the Master Gardener Training Program was to improve my ability to identify plants. I still have much to learn, but can honestly say my knowledge level of plants and soils has improved.
Master Gardener Training has given me more confidence to try.
It was a joy to learn with like-minded people. People who have a desire to learn, a desire to improve themselves and their techniques, and a desire to be helpful to others.
Ruie Whitecotton: Master Gardener Intern
I loved the class—both the curriculum and excellent resources provided, and the camaraderie of our class. It was great fun to share gardening knowledge as well as recipes.
I remember while I was still working seeing a roadside poster board, which said, "Inject nature into your grandchildren." I realized my grandmother did that for me, and I want to do the same for my four grandchildren. Thank you for helping me to prepare to do that.
I am also preparing to have my son and granddaughter help me with some landscaping at my own home. I feel much better prepared to make wise choices in my purchases and planting both financially and to support pollinators.
Elizabeth Connell: Master Gardener Intern
I have enjoyed gardening, botany and have had a strong interest in horticulture for many years. The program content was expansive and the majority of the instructors were extremely knowledgeable, professional and presented their topics thoroughly. I appreciated that they answered questions asked and encouraged classroom interactions.
Overall, I was very satisfied with the program and the opportunities since to continue both educational and volunteer interests. The course curriculum was stimulating, challenging and very informative. Continued in-class instructors with less reliance on webinars I believe will not only further enhance the quality but may increase interest and participation in future programs.
Terry Foster: Master Gardener Intern