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Brittnay Haag
Extension Educator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
1615 Commerce Parkway
Bloomington, IL 61704
Phone: 309-663-8306
FAX: 309-663-8270
bhaag@illinois.edu

Kelly Allsup
Extension Educator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
1615 Commerce Parkway
Bloomington, IL 61704
Phone: 309-663-8306
FAX: 309-663-8270
kallsup@illinois.edu

McLean County Master Gardeners

McLean County Master Gardeners

Who We Are

If you enjoy gardening and want to share your gardening knowledge, the Master Gardener program may be for you. All you need is an interest in gardening, an open mind and a willingness to share your knowledge with others.

Master Gardeners share unbiased, research-based horticultural information with home landscapers and gardeners. Another important function of the organization is to encourage young people to enjoy the pleasures of flower and vegetable growing through the Junior Master Gardener program.

Brief History

The Master Gardener program is an all-volunteer organization, sanctioned by the land-grant institution in each state, which functions as an extension of the college or university. In Illinois, the program is sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension.

The Master Gardener program started in McLean County in 1998. To date, more than 150 people have been trained through the program with approximately 95 still active as Master Gardeners.

How To Become A Master Gardener

Applicants are recruited and informally interviewed. Once accepted, attendance at all 11 Master Gardener training classes is required to complete the training. The training is offered one day a week generally from mid to late January to late March or early April. Classes usually begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m. Weekly take-home tests are given along with a comprehensive final examination.

Training

Master Gardeners participate in more than 60 hours of classroom instruction on basic botany, vegetables, soils, herbs, wildlife control, insects, turf grass, flowers, diseases, woody ornamentals, fruits, and pesticide safety. Comprehensive manuals and resource bulletins are utilized during these classes. All classes are taught by U of I Extension educators and campus specialists. An online option is also available. See the Illinois Master Gardener website for further information.

Cost

Cost of the program is set by the local office and includes the Master Gardener manual and any additional training materials used.

Volunteering

Following the training sessions, Master Gardener interns are required to complete a 60-hour internship through approved volunteer services which include preparing and staffing exhibits or displays, giving demonstrations or talks to local groups, answering home gardening questions in the Extension office, serving on a Master Gardener committee, providing service in an approved project, or representing the Master Gardener program on local radio talk shows.

Certified (Active) Master Gardener

To maintain certified University of Illinois Master Gardener status requires a minimum of 30 hours of volunteer service and 10 hours of education annually and is valid for one year.

Applying

Applications may be made at any time. If a training session is already underway when an application is received, it will be kept on file for the following year's training. Because there are not enough resources to accommodate everyone who applies for the program, class size is limited. To request an application or additional information, please call at the number listed below, or fill out and return a "Request for Information" form.

Contact us at 309-663-8306 or uiemg-mclean@illinois.edu

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