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Learn more about the Mississippi Master Gardeners program this week

January 21, 2011

From the Oktibbeha County Extension Service

What is the Master Gardener program?

The Master Gardener volunteer program is a great way to gain horticultural expertise at a low cost, meet other avid gardeners, share gardening experiences, get connected to the community, and belong to a well-respected educational organization.
It is an educational exchange program offered through county offices of the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Through this program, individuals are trained and certified in horticulture and related areas. In exchange for educational training, individuals are asked to volunteer their time to help county Extension offices with horticulture projects that benefit the local community.
Master Gardeners help extend the educational arm of the university to the public by providing horticultural information based on university research and recommendations.

What does the Master Gardener program provide?

The Master Gardener training program provides more than 40 hours of classroom and hands-on instruction in horticulture and related areas. Class instructors include Extension specialists, agents, and other horticulture professionals.
Class topics include botany, soils, vegetables, ornamentals, insects and diseases, and lawn care, among others.
Curriculum material will be provided to support the classroom instruction.

What does the Master Gardener program require?

In exchange for 40-plus hours of educational training, individuals are required to return 40 hours of volunteer service within one year of their training.
After the first year, volunteers are required to return 20 hours of volunteer service and to attend 12 hours of educational training to remain certified as Master Gardeners.
There is a one-time $85 fee for entry into the Master Gardener program. This fee covers the cost of refreshments, supplies, and a 1-year membership in the state Master Gardener association, and provides funding for the future development and growth of the statewide program.

Whom do I contact?

The first step is to contact your county Extension office. You may fill out the application form in this brochure and mail or take it to the county office. The county Master Gardener coordinator will let you know if there are any upcoming training classes being offered.
Locate your county Extension office by looking under the county name in the phone book or by visiting http://msucares. com/counties/index.html.

What are some sample projects I can do as a Master Gardener?

• Conduct plant clinics
• Answer home horticulture questions (phone, e-mail, face-to-face)
• Develop demonstration/teaching gardens
• Assist with research projects
• Provide leadership to county or state organizations
• Participate in 4-H Junior Master Gardener or other 4-H gardening projects
• Act as a new class coordinator
• Participate in community beautification/ landscape projects

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