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Rhonda J. Ferree

Rhonda J. Ferree
Former Extension Educator, Horticulture

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Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
Tour of BetterEarth composting facility in Peoria on March 29, 2012

Master Composter Trainees Promoted in Peoria

Twelve Master Gardeners recently completed the University of Illinois Extension Master Composter training program. Trainees from the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Extension Unit learned the science and art of composting. Classes were held on March 8th and 29th at the University of Illinois Extension office in Peoria.

Duane Friend, University of Illinois Extension Educator, covered the composting process, composting materials, containers, and managing the compost process. Master Gardener and Master Composter Mary Beth Mahoney taught the art of vermicomposting, which uses red worms to break down household waste in a small receptacle. Mary Beth also discussed bokashi - a Japanese method to compost meat, fish, dairy, casseroles and prepared foods.

The training ended with a tour of a local composting facility. Paul Rosenbohm of BetterEarth explained his commercial composting operation in Peoria. According to their website, BetterEarth Compost is made from recycled material and benefits the environment as it benefits its users.

Trainees promoted to intern status include Norm Meyn, Patricia Melaik, Ron Miller, Lee Maki, Patricia Middleton, Julie Vandermeer, Jack Lambert, Jody McCamey, Phil Houser, Carol Lontai, Corinna Walker, and Mary Whittaker.

Master Composter interns are asked to volunteer 20 initial hours within two years, sharing with their local community what they learned in the classes. Volunteering can take the form of answering questions from homeowners at the local extension office, or helping with a community composting project. Some Master Composters speak at local programs or do media work. Many volunteer time with school programs or community gardens.

Congratulations to these outstanding University of Illinois Extension volunteers on completing the first – and most difficult – phase of the Master Composter Program! For more information or to talk to a Master Composter, call University of Illinois Extension at 309-543-3308309-543-3308.

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