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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog

Master Gardener Training Planned


Calling all gardeners! Master Gardener training begins January 15th

Master Gardeners are a special group of people who all have a common interest – a love of gardening and nature and the desire to share that knowledge with others. The Master Gardener Volunteer program is a very successful University of Illinois Extension Horticulture program. The program aim is to give intensive horticultural training to individuals who will, in turn, share this training with the public.

Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, says that there are no specific requirements to become a Master Gardener. Lawyers, secretaries, doctors, nurses, teachers, accountants, homemakers, farmers, and you can become Master Gardeners. Retirees often have an edge since most classes are offered during the day.

Master Gardeners receive 40 hours of training in topics ranging from vegetable gardening to tree and small fruits, soils, fertilizers, diseases, insects, trees and shrubs, houseplants, and more. Master Gardeners also receive training to improve volunteer skills.

In return, Master Gardeners volunteer 60 hours back to University of Illinois Extension. The volunteer time can be essentially any type of activity as long as it is about plants and an educational program. Anything is possible. You could develop a demonstration garden, conduct horticultural therapy programs, produce media releases, conduct youth programs, do neighborhood beautification projects, coordinate a question/answer booth, and much more.

Classes start January 15th in Jacksonville and continue weekly until March 26th. Classes run from 9 am to 4 pm every Tuesday. There is a program fee which includes the Master Gardener manual and any additional training materials used. There is also on online training option available. Each applicant is required to go through an informal interview and screening process.

Become part of our Master Gardener team. Applications are available at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/ccgms/ and are due by November 1st to be considered for the next training series. If you have any questions about the program, contact University of Illinois Extension office at 217-243-7424217-243-7424.



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