AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Master Gardener program hosted two classes on the Iowa State campus in Ames this fall as part of its annual Master Gardener training course.
The 320 class participants were completing the 40 hours of training required of Master Gardener trainees before they begin working in communities across the state. There are currently more than 2,600 active Master Gardeners across Iowa.
“As a result of this training, Master Gardeners have basic gardening knowledge they can apply as they begin to volunteer in their communities,” said Susan DeBlieck, Master Gardener assistant coordinator with ISU Extension and Outreach. “This training exposes everyone to a menu of topics; the approach isn’t that they have to know everything about gardening. Master Gardener volunteers are willing to learn and apply that knowledge to their community.”
The class on campus in Ames combines hands-on learning with classroom presentations from Iowa State faculty and graduate students.
Master Gardener trainees visit the Horticulture Hall greenhouses, learn how to conduct soil tests, dissect flowers to understand their parts and see examples of insect damage and plant diseases.
“Master Gardener trainees gain experiential education opportunities through hands-on learning from Iowa State experts,” said Kellie Solberg, Master Gardener coordinator for ISU Extension and Outreach Woodbury County. “This class brings trainees from all over the state together and is a great way to meet others with similar interests and to share ideas.”
Training for the 2017 class of Master Gardeners will come to a close on Nov. 14. Those who complete the training will then do a one-year volunteer internship before officially becoming Master Gardener volunteers.
The next round of Master Gardener training will not begin until next fall, with applications due on Sept. 1, 2018. More information will be posted on the Master Gardener’s website, www.extension.iastate.edu/mastergardener, prior to training starting.