Becoming a master gardener

The 2017 Master Gardener State report is out. There are 2,342 Master Gardeners in the state who gave 145,134 volunteer hours with 201,123 Minnesotans reached for assistance with their horticulture questions and projects. So, what does a Minnesota Master gardener do? First, Minnesota Master Gardeners complete a core course that is taught by the U of M horticulture faculty and Extension educators. We share researched based information with the public. In 2017, we reached over 150,000 adults and over 56, 000 youth. We also attend continuing education workshops and seminars throughout the year which added up to over 27,000 continuing education hours.

The activities that Minnesota Master Gardeners provide benefits “schools, community gardens, youth programs, environmental education programs, farmers markets and much more.” Each year, first year Master Gardeners volunteer 50 hours as interns and thereafter 25 hours each year. In Lyon County, we participate in seminars for continuing education hours — 5 hours per year. Activities that Master Gardener’s participate in are: teaching classes and workshops, answering questions about gardening over the phone, assisting with county Horticulture days, teaching and demonstrating horticulture techniques, teach youth and judging horticulture projects, media interviews along with writing for local newspapers, speaking to schools and youth groups, holding plant clinics, representing the program at county and state fair exhibits and teaching horticulture in hospitals, nursing homes and retirement center.

Does this interest you? If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener, you can “job” shadow a Master Gardener or two to learn more about the program throughout this coming growing season. There are multiple opportunities (and growing) to be able to hang out with one of several of the Lyon County Master gardeners to see if you would like to officially become one. There are several opportunities such as working with 4-H youth, seminars and our own Lyon County Gardening Seminar coming up this spring. You can also go online to check out the Master Gardener program. The web address is https://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/master-gardener/.

If you are interested in finding out more about the program and working with one of the Lyon County Master Gardeners to see if this is the right fit for you, please contact me at the following address, s.dejaeghere@me.com

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