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Master gardeners

Think globally, act locally. It’s a phrase that applies so well to University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners in Lyon County. We are the University of Minnesota, on the ground — often literally — delivering science-based practices to our communities. As volunteers, Master Gardeners learn not only from scientific research, but from one another and the communities we serve. And sometimes we surprise people. Many are familiar with Master Gardeners as reliable resources for questions about flowers or grass because horticulture skills are a cornerstone of our work.

But did you know that Master Gardeners also focus on local foods and sustainability? Or that we teach about practices that restore Minnesota’s native prairies and protect our precious water? Or that being a volunteer as a Master Gardener gives people a chance to spread their wings in photography, writing, community speaking and more? There’s a lot in the Master Gardener program that helps us learn, grow and share.

There are Master Gardeners in just about every county in Minnesota and this is a program that is run throughout the United States. Lyon County has less than a dozen Master Gardeners and one certified in Food Preservation. We are always working with the public in answering questions, doing public speaking, although with the pandemic, it is more about online presentations now days as we all know. Generally speaking, Master Gardeners need 50 volunteer hours the first year and 25 hours for every year, thereafter. It may sound like a lot but you can earn volunteer hours quite easily, even in your own home! There is a cost to take the online classes but there are scholarships that are available from both the U of M Extension as well as the Lyon County Master Gardeners.

Master Gardeners learn from each other as well as we go through continual education through classes which have been in person to online. We learn about all aspects of gardening from how to work with landscapes to food preservation to learning more about insects and diseases. We promote the ongoing research from the U of M Extension and arboretum to all residents.

Masters Gardeners come from all ages and backgrounds. We’re especially excited to see the new generation of Master Gardeners embracing opportunities with enthusiasm. Learn more about becoming an Extension Master Gardener by visiting extension.umn.edu/master-gardener. Or call, myself or any other Master Gardener that you are familiar with. Applications will be accepted online until Oct. 1 and can be found at https://umn.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1ZmkIJ1i0jCVeCx Come learn, grow and share with us.

If you wish to become a Master Gardener, the experienced Master Gardeners of Lyon County will be paired up with you to help you through your first year experiences. For more information on how to become a Master Gardener, please contact me at 828-5754 or email s.dejaeghere@me.com

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