Who are the Linn County Master Gardeners

Master Gardeners in a greenhouse

You have probably seen articles in the Gazette from them, heard them on WMT Radio, seen them on KCRG TV, and seen them at various events in the area. But do you really know who these folks are and what they do in the community?
Master Gardeners are individuals who have taken the Master Gardener training provided by Iowa State University and share their time and expertise as volunteers in identified projects throughout the community. They are passionate about serving their communities and sharing gardening best practices.
Linn County has 150 active Master Gardeners engaged in projects, including the following:

  • Community Outreach Gardens – providing education and support to 18 identified community gardens including Catherine McAuley Center, Dept. of Corrections and Olivet Mission, among others.
  • Community Education Events including the Winter Gardening Fair, Creative Gardening Series, and WMT Outdoor Living Fair.
  • Demonstration gardens providing community workshops at Lowe Park, New Bo, and Noelridge Park.
  • Speakers Bureau providing speakers at Library Talks, WMT Radio, KCRG TV and other community meetings.
  • Planting for Pollinators bringing awareness of pollinator planting to the community.
  • Garden Walk and Spring Plant Sale.
  • Hortline which is available daily answering gardening questions.

You can become a Master Gardener if you are interested in learning about plants and gardening, attend the training program, provide forty hours of volunteer service, and are willing to help others through identified projects.
The application process to be a part of the class of 2019 is as follows:

  1. Apply online before May 10, 2019 for the core training or contact our office for a copy of the form (call 319.377.9839 for details).
  2. Attend an Open House to get more details about being a Master Gardener
  3. Be selected by your local Extension office for the training.
  4. Submit and pass the background check.
  5. Once the background check clears, pay the class fee ($195 at most locations); training manuals are included in the fee.

Classes begin on August 13 with in-class days on Tuesdays or possibly Thursdays (if scheduling requires). You are also required to review webinars online as part of coursework. After you complete your training, you'll volunteer in the community at approved Master Gardener projects throughout the county. You'll need to complete 40 hours of volunteering by December 31, 2020. Thereafter, you'll remain active by attending ten or more hours of continuing education and contributing 20 hours or more of volunteer community service.
For more information about what the Linn County Master Gardeners do or for information about the application process go online to www.extension,iastate.edu/linn/content/master-gardener-information. Or you may call the Extension Office at 377-9839 or the Master Gardener Hortline at 319-447-0647.

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