Frequently Asked Questions - Master Gardener

Frequently Asked Questions

? What is the Master Gardener program?

A: The purpose of the Master Gardener program is to train volunteers to assist the Sioux County Extension office in carrying out a local horticulture program.

? What does the Master Gardener classes include?

A: The Sioux County program adds several experiences to the program provided by Iowa State University. We have lab experiences in greenhouse work, fruit tree pruning and small fruit pruning. We also have a session on using technology in researching horticulture questions, and a session on biotechnology which includes lab experience in DNA extraction.

? When are the Master Gardener classes held?

A: In Sioux County the class starts in mid-January and runs through mid-April. The classes are held at least once a week and sometimes twice a week. Iowa State University provides many classes through the ICN (Iowa Communications Network).

? What if I have a conflict with some of the class dates?

A: We have videotapes for you to view some of the classes. The Saturday class in Ames is very important and would be difficult to make up. If you need to miss more than one class, we suggest you wait until another year.

? What if I'm not physically able to do some of the class lab work?

A: We will work with you to make the experience workable and enjoyable for you.

? When do I pay the fee?

A: After you've been notified of your acceptance. If you need a partial scholarship, please indicate this at your interview.

? What are the fees for?

A: They cover the cost of the reference notebook you receive at the first class and other materials.

? Why do I have to return 40 hours of volunteer work after the class?

A: The reason the class is conducted is to train volunteers to assist the Extension office in teaching Iowa State University horticulture information to people in Sioux County. An instructional or tuition fee is waived with the understanding you'll give back to Extension 40 hours of volunteer service.

? What kinds of volunteer service will I have to do?

A: Our first priority of volunteer service is to research and/or answer consumer horticulture questions that come in to the Extension office throughout the spring, summer, and fall months. Other volunteer work is working on or presenting public programs, working in the demonstration garden, greenhouse, discovery garden or children's gardens.

? How long do I have to give back the 40 hours of volunteer service?

A: Volunteer hours are repaid within one year of your class graduation. If special problems come up, you'll need to discuss this with the county director or the horticulturist.

? Am I a Master Gardener after the classes are complete?

A: After you've completed the classroom and lab experiences, you'll receive a certificate of completion. Your volunteer title will be Master Gardener Intern. After you've completed the 40 hours of volunteer service you will receive an official Master Gardener name badge. Your title will then be Master Gardener.

? What happens after I've completed my required 40 hours of volunteer service?

A: We hope you enjoy your experience enough to continue to serve as an ISU Extension Master Gardener volunteer, but that's not required. To remain a certified ISU Extension Master Gardener, you need to volunteer a minimum of six hours and get six hours of continuing education on horticulture each year.

? I've heard that I have to interview and be accepted in the Master Gardener program? Why?

A: Remember, the purpose of the Master Gardener program is to educate volunteers to represent Iowa State University as unpaid staff. We need to make sure that you understand the program and the commitment it will take to complete the requirements of the program. The interviews also allows you the opportunity to ask questions and decide if the program is a good fit with your time, energy, and interest.

? How do I enroll in the class?

A: Contact the Sioux County Extension office at 712/737-4230 to request your name be put on our mailing list for applications. Applications are sent out in late summer and will indicate the date by which they need to be returned for consideration

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