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The Iowa Master Gardener program

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 9:36 a.m. CST

AMES – The Iowa Master Gardener program will hold 2014 fall trainings at 34 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach county offices beginning in September.

The Master Gardener course includes 40 hours of web-based and face-to-face local training and a one-day training session on the Iowa State University campus.

“Iowans interested in gardening and volunteering in their community should consider joining the Iowa Master Gardener program,” said Denny Schrock, Iowa Master Gardener coordinator. “We welcome long-term veterans of gardening, novices and those with varying degrees of experience as new trainees.”

Iowa Master Gardener training covers many aspects of gardening – from soil and weed management to botany and growing all types of horticultural plants. Since its inception in 1979, the Iowa program has trained more than 10,000 participants. To see a full description of the topics covered, visit the Iowa Master Gardener website at www.mastergardener.iastate.edu.

In partial exchange for training, Master Gardener participants are expected to share their time and knowledge in approved projects within their local communities. Trainees must complete a one-year Master Gardener internship consisting of 40 hours of approved volunteer service projects. In subsequent years to maintain active Master Gardener status an additional 12 hours of volunteer service and six hours of educational updates are required annually.

“Master Gardeners may work at local public gardens, schools, nursing homes, or other community beautification and educational projects,” Schrock said. “Some Master Gardeners answer questions on the radio, give presentations at gardening seminars, or discuss plants at local plant sales. There are many ways to volunteer.”

The Master Gardener program is unique both for its community emphasis and because it is based on the broad research-based resources of Iowa State University. Master Gardeners provide a credible source of information about home gardening across Iowa, said Schrock.

Registration is due Friday, Sept. 5 by 4:30 p.m. to the Clarke County Extension Office.

To learn more information or to sign up stop by the Clarke County Extension office located on the southwest corner of the Osceola square, call at 641-342-3316 or visit the website at www.extension.iastate.edu/clarke.

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