Congratulations, Master Gardeners

Monday, November 9, 2009

I am proud to announce we have 17 new Master Gardener Volunteers.

This spring's class has 17 volunteers, who have taken 12 weeks of classes where they learned about soils, plant science, weeds, plant diseases, insects, vegetable gardening, trees, flower gardening, home lawns, animal pests, pesticide safety, composting, flower gardening, and many other subjects.

These participants have needed to complete 35 hours of volunteer time to become full-fledged Master Gardeners. Purdue has designed the Master Gardener Class to educate volunteers to be knowledgeable about a variety of subjects related to gardening. These educated volunteers in turn help to beautify the community in which we live.

There are several great volunteer opportunities for the Master Gardener. Some of these opportunities are: Staffing informational booths at gardening events, teaching public education classes, speaking to local clubs and organizations and doing hands-on demonstrations.

Each class is encouraged to create new opportunities for volunteer hours and for the community. I hope this new class of Master Gardener volunteers will serve as an inspiration to other former participants in the Master Gardener classes to again become involved in this great program.

I encourage people to do both volunteer hours and education training hours. Education hours are to encourage people to learn more about gardening. These can include participation in any of the Master Gardener conferences, participation in any county sponsored advanced training sessions (not just Putnam County), and participation in other programs that encourage people to learn more about gardening.

If you are going to use any of these advanced training sessions as credit for education training I would love the opportunity to review these programs with you before you attend so I can help determine if the program will be beneficial to you. If you have a question about programs, please give me a call and I will be more then happy to help you.

Volunteer hours are the hours you spend in service to the community helping to educate the public and beautify your surroundings.

Master Gardener volunteers are more in demand than ever before. Many more people are interested in growing their own food. Many local communities are in need of trained Master Gardener volunteers to help with programs, including community gardens and horticultural education.

To become a Master Gardener you must participate in the 12-week training classes and then finish 35 hours of volunteer time. After finishing your 35 hours you become a full-fledged Master Gardener.

This may seem like a lot of time, but most of the class participants can finish their hours in a year. If you have taken the program classes before 2003 you are grandfathered in, but you are still required to have 30 hours of volunteer time.

If this is the case with you, please contact me so I can update your file.

Congratulations to the newest Master Gardener volunteers: Billie Richert, Peggy Wood, Melissa Haddon, Ralph Casida, Pat Livvix, Brenda Combs, Doug Bryan, Debbie Muehlenbein,, Anita Camic, Julia Prather, Sharyn Antico, Vicky McCrary, Steve Perkings. Joni Perkings, Pamela Cummings, Mark Saunders, and Amanda Young.

I would like to congratulate this year's Master Gardener class graduates. Way to go class! It was fun to have you.