Do you have the dedication, passion and enthusiasm it takes to be a Master Gardener?
The Ashe County Center of the NC Cooperative Extension is hosting an information and orientation session for its Master Gardener Program this Wednesday, April 2, at the Agriculture Service Center conference room at 134 Government Circle, Suite 202, in Jefferson.
The session runs from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. and is free of charge.
Extension Master Gardener volunteers work with the NC Cooperative Extension, providing gardeners with information on gardens, lawns and landscaping.
To become a Master Gardener, volunteers must complete a 40 hour training program, pass an examination and successfully complete a 40 hour internship.
In order to maintain Master Gardener status, volunteers are required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of volunteer work and 12 hours of continuing education each year.
“The whole idea of the Master Gardener program is to provide information - reputable information - to consumers and the public on consumer horticulture,” Bob Kellam, 2012 President of the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Association, said. “When providing answers to peoples questions, we have to make sure we are using research-based information.”
The N.C. Cooperative Extension Service has been turning out Master Gardener volunteers since the program’s inception in 1979.
The program is currently offered in 73 counties and there are over 4,000 active Master Gardeners at work across the state.
Susan Jones, a retiree who moved to Ashe County with her husband in 2006, became a Master Gardener in 1984, while living in Guilford County.
“The program was fun but intensive,” Jones said. “You learn a lifetime’s worth of knowledge in a short span of time, but you learn for yourself and to teach others to cultivate healthy gardens and be better stewards of Mother Earth.”
Those who are interested in participating in the Master Gardener program are encouraged to apply.
The application period runs from April 3 - 24.
The program is limited to 16 participants and there is a registration fee of $125 for those accepted into the program.
Classes will start on Wednesday, May 21, and will be held every Wednesday from 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. for 11-13 weeks.
For more information, call the county center office at (336) 846-5850 or email program coordinator Travis Birdsell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alan Bulluck can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @albulluck.