Wednesday 13 Dec 2017

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Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Training This Fall

An Extension Master Gardener is a volunteer for the NC Cooperative Extension Service. Many county extension offices have a county Extension Master Gardener volunteer program.  Wayne County has a history of an active Extension Master Gardener volunteer program with currently over 20 volunteers.  The mission of the Extension Master Gardener volunteers is to provide unbiased, research based information to gardeners on lawns, landscapes, and gardens.  The information that Extension Master Gardeners provide are ones that guide homeowners in making practical decisions in their landscapes and gardens.

Extension Master Gardener Volunteers are members of the local community who enjoy learning, gardening and volunteering. Potential volunteers are selected through an application process. Applications are selected based on: 1) interest and commitment to volunteering, 2) ability to volunteer during week days, 3) interest in learning more about gardening, 4) willingness to share knowledge with other gardeners and 4) having a working e-mail address.  Prior gardening knowledge is not a requirement to be selected for the program. Ones selected receive an in-depth training from Wayne County Cooperative Extension office. In return, they volunteer to help the organization meet a great demand for gardening information and advice.

The North Carolina Extension Master Gardener volunteer program is a very involved and rewarding program allowing people to learn about gardening while volunteering in the county extension office assisting horticulture extension agent in reaching people through educational gardening programs. In 2016, the Wayne County Extension Master Gardener volunteer program volunteered over 2,200 hours providing educational gardening programs to people in Wayne County.  Programs the volunteers in Wayne County contribute to includes:  answering gardening questions through the office plant clinic and at community events, holding an annual spring garden festival, teaching youth gardening programs, maintaining teaching gardens in various locations like the Wayne Regional Fairgrounds and Stoney Creek Park butterfly garden.

Anyone with an interest in both gardening and volunteer services can apply to become an Extension Master Gardener volunteer. Applicants should be comfortable working with a diverse range of people and willing to share their knowledge with both new and experienced gardeners. In addition, applicants should have the time and desire to be part of a science-based training program along with being willing to volunteer with Extension’s outreach programs. Because Cooperative Extension’s greatest demand for volunteers is during office hours (Monday thru Friday, 8am to 5pm), applicants should be available to volunteer and attend trainings during these times.

A training class is being held this fall to recruit new volunteers. The training class prepares you to answer gardening questions and diagnose common problems related to cultivating lawns, fruits and vegetables, and landscape plants. Prior gardening knowledge is not a requirement to become a volunteer. One will gain much gardening knowledge through the training class and during their time as a volunteer.

The 2017 training class is scheduled for Monday and Thursday mornings, September through November. Training classes are lead by the county horticulture extension agent.  Applications are currently being accepted during the month of August for those interested in becoming a Wayne County Extension Master Gardener volunteer.  The application deadline is August 28th.  If you are interested in an application, you can contact our office at 919-731-1520 to request an application packet. If your application is selected, registration for the training is $50 if you chose to use online manual or $100 if you would like hard copy of manual.

If the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program sound like something you are interested but would like to learn more, we will be having an “Introduction to the Extension Master Gardener Program” Open House on Thursday, August 24th from 9 to 11am at the Wayne Co. Extension Office (208 W. Chestnut St., Goldsboro).  If you would like to attend, please register by calling our office at 919-731-1520.

Being an Extension Master Gardener volunteer is a time commitment, but ones in the program will be the first to say it is a very rewarding program that allows you to help others with their gardening questions while continuing to learn more about gardening yourself.

For your gardening, landscape, and lawn questions contact the Wayne County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 am to 1pm. The plant clinic is a free service open to any Wayne County resident that has home gardening questions. One can reach the Wayne County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic by phone at 919-731-1433, e-mail at Master.Gardener@waynegov.com, or stopping by Room 100 of the Wayne County Extension Office (208 West Chestnut Street, Goldsboro). People contacting the plant clinic with questions are encouraged to bring samples and/or pictures that could help in reaching a solution.  Extension Master Gardeners are trained volunteers with the Wayne County NC Cooperative Extension Service.

 

Jessica Strickland is an Agriculture Extension Agent, specializing in horticulture for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Wayne County. Horticulture program information can be found at http://wayne.ces.ncsu.edu/. Forward any questions you would like answered from this week’s column to Jessica.Strickland@waynegov.com.

Wayne Co. Extension Master Gardener volunteers lead a 4-H youth summer gardening this summer

Wayne Co. Extension Master Gardener volunteer answering gardening questions at a spring community event

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