Master Gardener Training will be Offered in Jacksonville in 2017

The Calhoun, Cass, Greene, Morgan, Scott county Extension units will be offering Master Gardener training again in 2017. Classes will be held in Jacksonville on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. Classes will begin February 28 and run for 10 weeks. There is a $175 registration fee to participate in the training; this includes the Master Gardener manual.

Informational meetings discussing the Master Gardener program, as well as the 2017 training, will be held on November 10 at the Morgan County Extension office in Jacksonville and November 14 at the Greene County Extension office in Carrolton from 6 to 7 pm. Extension staff as well as current Master Gardeners will be on hand to discuss the program.

Master Gardeners participate in more than 60 hours of training taught by U of I specialists and Extension educators. Topics include flower and vegetable gardening, tree and small fruits, insects, plant diseases, soils and fertilizers, and integrated pest management to name a few.

Upon completion of training, a person becomes a Master Gardener Intern and will then need to contribute 60 hours of volunteer service within a two-year time period to become an active Master Gardener. To maintain active Master Gardener status, volunteers need to obtain at least 10 hours of continuing education and volunteer 30 hours of community service per year at a recognized Master Gardener project.

Master Gardeners educate the public on a wide variety of topics such as improving landscapes, choosing plant varieties, water saving tips for gardens, proper pest identification and management, how to grow their own produce, optimum mulching strategies, and composting.

Volunteer opportunities include but are not limited to answering telephone or email questions about gardening; staffing plant clinics or farmers markets; speaking to local organizations; establishing demonstration or community gardens; conducting programs with youth, the elderly or the disabled, or writing newspaper articles. Master Gardeners are adults of all ages who love gardening and who have previous gardening experience.

The program is open to any adult with an interest in plants and a desire to share that with others. You can become a Master Gardener if you have some knowledge or experience in gardening or landscape management (you need not be an expert), you are willing to learn and share horticulture information with others, you are accepted into the training program, and you can volunteer time conducting horticultural educational programming coordinated through the local Extension unit.

More information, as well as the application, can be found on our website at web.extension.illinois.edu/ccgms/mg or by contacting Ken Johnson, kjohnso@illinois.edu, 217-243-7424.

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