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Ryan Pankau
Extension Educator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
801 North Country Fair Drive
Suite D
Champaign, IL 61821
Phone: 217-333-7672
FAX: 217-333-7683

Jenney Hanrahan
Program Coordinator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
3164 North Vermilion
Danville, IL 61832
Phone: 217-442-8615
FAX: 217-442-8628

Ford-Iroquois Counties Master Gardeners

Ford-Iroquois Counties Master Gardeners

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What are Master Gardeners?

The Ford-Iroquois Master Gardeners are a group of volunteers trained by University of Illinois Extension Educators to provide a network of gardening programs and horticultural activities to educate the public and enhance life in their communities.

What does training involve?

Each Master Gardener has completed an eleven week course of study, one day each week either at a classroom training site or using the on-line Master Gardener training. Topics covered during training include:

  • Botany
  • Soils
  • Fertilizers & Compost
  • Indoor plants
  • Flowers
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Wildlife Control
  • Insects
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Trees & Shrubs
  • Plant Diseases
  • Lawns

Click on Becoming a Master Gardener for more specific information regarding training and to apply today!

What do Master Gardeners do?

Following their training, each Master Gardener agrees to donate at least 60 hours of volunteer time within a two-year period in Ford/Iroquois County Master Gardener projects. These educational projects include speaking for area organizations and classrooms, answering horticulture related questions from gardening enthusiasts, and other special projects. The Idea Garden in Onarga was begun in 2004 with a mission of "Helping Others Learn to Grow". In subsequent years, Master Gardeners must complete 30 hours of volunteer service and attend 10 hours of continuing education in order to remain an active member.

Master Gardeners continue to host the popular SEASONS horticulture telenet series each year. This distance delivery format allowed experts from across the state to cover topics reflective of the changing seasons and included a question and answer period at the conclusion of each session.

Extension staff are trained to use the on-line plant clinic to assist Master Gardeners in the identification of certain insect, weed, or disease problems. Digital photographs are taken of the plant or insect sample and submitted electronically for an accurate diagnosis and recommendation from an Extension Educator who has an expertise in this area. Local residents who have used the service like the quick turn-around time and valuable information since no one can be an authority on every horticulture related issue.

What others are saying:

  • The Master Gardener training was excellent. I have been able to use the information personally and to help others improve their gardening skills.
  • Thank you for your assistance in getting the images to the University for a diagnosis. I look forward to using this service again when I have other gardening questions.
  • This was my first time to attend a gardening workshop at your office. It was very informative. I might be interested in taking the Master Gardener training next year.
  • On-line training has been perfect for me. There was no way that I would give up enough time to complete the course face to face. It has been a good course and I am learning new things as well as reviewing things that have been stored deep in the crevices of my mind since my college days.