Are you a candidate to be a Master Gardener? Seems like it would take a lot to be a master gardener. All that knowledge and years of experience all those tips and secrets. Well it is true there is an awful lot to know about gardening. In fact there is a lot to know about everything have you ever thought about screws how many types there are and what each type is used for and how they are made. No me neither, but I am sure some people have. Well being a master gardener is a lot easier than you think. First off you don’t need to know everything about gardening. The fact is is to be a master gardener the main requirement is to love to garden and to want to spend some time volunteering in exchange for training and education.
These programs are run by land grant universities throughout the United States and is administered by their cooperative extension services. The first Master Gardeners Program was started back in 1979 in Washington State. The growing interest in horticulture and gardening was taxing the resources of the local extension agents so a program was instituted to train volunteers and relieve some of the burdens of the agents. This seemed to be a pretty good idea. Since then the program has spread to all 50 states. It is estimated that there are over 95,000 Master Gardeners and combine they provide over 5,000,000 volunteer hours to their communities each year.
Volunteers receive intense training in home horticulture and they pay back that education by volunteerism. As a volunteer you will do many things including, assist with garden lectures and exhibits, school and community gardening programs , phone help answer question, research, and many other projects that are of benefit to the community . That I think is a very good trade off for everyone the gardener receives a great education about something they are passionate about doing, and the university receives volunteer help from dedicated and passionate people who end up helping the university help the community. A win win for everyone.
The requirements vary from state to state but a generally as follows:
You will be required to attend training classes ans after completing the classes and passing a final exam you will become a Master Gardener Intern.
The internship lasts for approximately as long as the classroom hours of training you have received. After you have fulfilled the volunteer requirements you will become a Certified Master Gardener.
To remain an Active Master Gardener you will need to meet a yearly educational requirement and a voluntary hour requirement. These are less hours than the initial training and internship.
If you think you would be interested I urge you to check with your local cooperative extension office for an application and details. Most classes start in January.