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Old 05-13-2009, 09:10 AM   #1
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Default What Is a Master Gardener?

I know there are some of you here! Would you mind telling me about what exactly a Master Gardener is? How does one become a Master Gardener, what are the responsibilities of a MG, what is the title good for, etc.?

I have heard a little, and it sounds like something that my husband and I would like to do eventually, when we no longer have our hands so full of Baby. What could we do in the mean time, aside from tending our own gardens, to help us prepare for becoming Master Gardeners?

Of the little I have heard about the program, one thing that I heard was that the classes typically fall during weekdays, which would make it impossible for us. Is this typical?

Thank you!
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:45 AM   #2
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A Master Gardener is person who has taken classes to better their working knowledge of home gardening and home landscaping to be in a position to help out at extension offices. Focus has been on ornamentals, turf grasses, and proper selection of pesticides however this is beginning to change. They are regular people like you and me who chose to take a series of classes that are held once a week for three hours generally lasting ten to twelve weeks. Master Gardeners provide an invaluable service to the community in that they "assist the Extension Service professionals by answering phone requests, staffing plant clinics, giving talks on gardening subjects, maintaining composting demonstration projects, and other similar tasks." Master gardeners introduce children to gardening, create and maintain demonstration gardens, and offer hands on demonstrations to the public. They do so using University supported research. Upon completion of the course, a Master Gardener must give back 40 hours of service to their community.

When the classes are held depends on when an extension office is available to offer them. Typically they are held during the week because they are run by extension service professionals. This avoids conflicts with other programming available to the public.
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:43 AM   #3
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I am a MASTER GARDENER and proud to announce it. I was a little leary of joining the class at first but when they described it as being so fun and I didn't HAVE to remember all those latin names for things I jumped at the chance.

We offer classes to the public at cost for the literature you recieve for your studies. In return we ask that you donate the same amount of time back to the public as we have spent training you. Probably about the 40 hours mentioned earlier. You will learn ALL areas of horticulture not just ornamentals, grasses and pesticides. Organic gardening, pathways, lighting, retaining walls, lawn care, you name it we have it.

You can help out as stated weather in the office or in someones field, home or school. It is your choice as to when and where. You will know the areas you excell in. Weeding, teaching, grafting on someones farm or trimming trees. The reason for doing this is to TEACH others the proper way of doing it. It is quite fun sharing and if you are asked questions you have no idea about just have them call the extension or refer them to some one that knows a little more.
The only drawback I see is after you have volunteered to help chose and plant the proper plants at a sight they all seem to think we will weed it forever.
NOT! It is up to the club or should I say association to instruct them which plants to pull. You have a choice to continue working with them or pass the ball.

It's a fun group to join. We have plant sales,yard tours, outings in our gardens for demonstrations and a wonderfull conference to learn even more through experienced teachers and guides. We sometimes teach a few arts at the conference for incorporating into your yards. Copper cat tail feeders, Bent twig trellis, Cement leaves etc...........We have even had a variety of events to challenge us! Cooking chili and a guide through all the various peppers. Salsa night included safe canning methods, apple tasting and of course the dreaded summer squash. ZUCHINNI

There is a yearly requirement should you wish to retain your membership. A mear 10 hours of continued education must be pursued by you. It can be fullfilled easily by attending our monthly meetings (which include various programs) or by attending the conference or any other area. It's your choice. I see a sight in our flier on the web at Marinette County University of Wisconsin-Extension home . Mid way down you will see an area in green to check out master gardeners in Wisconsin. It will tell you professionally what we are all about.

I FOUND WILDLIFE GARDENERS thanks to them. Check out the Doug Tallamy thread. I think it is under news and current events. He was one of our kenote speakers this year. In there is a referral to our association websight including photos of us and our projects.
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:13 AM   #4
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A state university,here the University of Illinois,offers classes through the agricultural extension service to increase availability of university research based agricultural and horticultural information. In addition to the classes on soils ,botany ,propagation,insects, disease,and the various plants Chicago added an organic gardening class just two years ago. Also included is a class on working in teams,how to help the group include new comers,using what each persons experience brings to the team. It was fun and very helpful.
The volunteer hours vary by state with each extension service deciding what is needed. We complete 60 hours the first year as an intern under direct supervision then only require 30 hours each year after. But there is a 10 hour yearly continuing education with the local office keeping us informed of what is available much at no cost.
We answer phone calls, give demonstrations at schools and city events and help beginning gardeners maintain certain gardens like the vegetable garden at the cook county jail and food or habitat gardens at schools. There is an Organic demonstration garden at the Garfield Conservatory that helps train MG interns (first year) and the Museum of Science and Industry used MG's to maintain and give demonstrations to the visiting public in its gardens around the Green house built last year.
Most classes are given during the week but some areas are providing weekend or later classes. Some may even take online courses but I would recommend trying to fit in the classes as the instructors bring so much to the class.
An off shoot Master Composters has proven very popular and the classes are on Saturdays in October. Any volunteer work can be used for MG work but you don't have to have completed the MG course to take the composter classes.Schools love the worm bins.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:11 PM   #5
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Wow, thanks for the great info everyone. Here's another question for you: what exactly is an Extension Service? I've heard of it, but don't know what it is.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:19 PM   #6
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Cooperative Extension System Offices
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:22 PM   #7
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Thanks Staff. So, it's a part of the USDA.

Quote:
The Cooperative Extension System is a nationwide, non-credit educational network. Each U.S. state and territory has a state office at its land-grant university and a network of local or regional offices. These offices are staffed by one or more experts who provide useful, practical, and research-based information to agricultural producers, small business owners, youth, consumers, and others in rural areas and communities of all sizes.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:26 PM   #8
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Stolen- check it out in the web I posted above
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:27 PM   #9
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Thanks Hava!
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