DO YOU WANT TO BECOME A MASTER GARDENER? by Larry Williams, UF/IFAS Extension Agent

The Okaloosa County Extension Office is taking applications for the 2013 Master Gardener training course.

The Master Gardener Program in Florida is a joint endeavor of University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension and gardening volunteers in participating counties.

The program is specifically designed to recruit and train volunteers to help meet the demands placed on extension personnel by home gardeners.

The primary requirements for participation in the Master Gardener Program are a sincere interest in horticulture, a willingness to work with and help other people, time and flexibility to complete the requirements of the program.

Master Gardener training classes will be from 9am to 1pm Mondays, January 28th through May 6th, 2013. Most of these classes will be at the Okaloosa County Extension Office, 3098 Airport Road (new location, effective after November 5th) in Crestview. Instruction will include classroom training conducted by county Extension agents and UF/IFAS Extension specialists.

Training will include session on plant physiology, insects, plant disease, care of landscape plants, vegetable gardening, fruit gardening, lawn management, landscape design and irrigation.
 

After successfully completing the program, participants will then be ready to begin 75 hours of service agreed to in return for training. Volunteer activities allow Master Gardeners to continue to learn while assisting the public.

Master Gardeners help maintain a teaching landscape at the Extension office in Crestview. They help with other projects such as speaking to groups or giving technical advice to schools with garden projects. They create, install and staff educational exhibits at local events. Master Gardeners may return some of their volunteer time by working in plant clinics, assisting the 4-H youth program, etc.

There is a charge of $120 for the course, which pays for course materials. Space is limited. Only 10 to 20 participants will be trained for the 2013 program.

To receive an application for the 2013 Master Gardener training, call the Okaloosa County Extension Office at 689-5850, between 8am and 5pm Monday through Friday. Applications must be returned by November 30th to be considered.

 

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