If your New Year’s resolution has something to do with gardening, don’t miss your chance to become a trained Iowa Master Gardener in 2013! Classes start Tuesday, January 15 at the Cass County Extension Office, but you must have your registration form turned in by noon on Monday January 7 to avoid a late fee, according to Extension Program Coordinator, Kate Olson.
“We need to have all our names turned in to campus by January 7 so course materials can be sent out prior to class starting on the 15th,” says Olson. “It is a fantastic program and I would encourage anyone to sign up if they have a love for gardening, a desire to learn more about the world of gardening, and a commitment to being a positive part of their community!”
Master Gardeners are members of the local community who take an active interest in any type of gardening and have a desire to share their knowledge through education and community involvement. Master Gardener trainees attend 40 hours of classes taught by Iowa State University Extension & Outreach staff and specialists on topics including lawn care, flower and vegetable gardening, ornamental trees and shrubs, fruit crops, and houseplants, insect, disease, and weed control, soil and plant nutrition, and pesticide safety.
In exchange for training, participants are asked to volunteer 40 hours of service in their local communities. The service opportunities are wide-ranging, from public educational activities to assisting with public garden spaces. Master Gardeners speak to local groups, teach youth about gardening, plant/maintain community gardens, staff plant clinics or displays, provide horticulture therapy activities for the elderly, and assist with county fair horticulture activities as judges or project coordinators, to name a few. Cass County also has an active Master Gardener group that meets regularly to coordinate volunteer and educational opportunities for members.
Classes will be held at the Cass County Extension office, located at 805 W. 10th Street in Atlantic. The first session will be Tuesday evening, January 15 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm, and will continue on consecutive Tuesday’s through March 19. There will also be three Thursday evening sessions held locally, and one Saturday in February spent on the ISU campus for hands-on training in the horticulture department. The cost for the entire program, including reference materials and all training, is just $150 per person.
Registrations must be in the Cass County Extension office by noon on January 7 to have materials available for the first training session. A $25 late fee will be charged to anyone signing up after this date. Persons interested in becoming a trained Master Gardener in Cass County are encouraged to contact the Cass County Extension office at 712-243-1132 or visit www.extension.iastate.edu/cass for information on signing up for the winter certification classes, or to learn more about Iowa Master Gardeners.
(Press Release/Cass Co. Extension)