AMES, Iowa – If you’ve ever dreamed of improving your gardening skills in a way that benefits others and helps your community, you might want to consider becoming a Master Gardener volunteer.
Training for this popular program will be offered by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach this fall, at participating county extension offices, and at a hands-on workshop at Iowa State University, Oct. 10.
By becoming a Master Gardener, Iowans will be joining one of the largest volunteer networks in the country. Participants expand their own knowledge and discover the many ways they can share what they know with others.
“Participants in the Master Gardener training get connected to fellow plant enthusiasts and to local resources,” said Susan DeBlieck, Master Gardener state coordinator with ISU Extension and Outreach. “They get to learn hands-on and become part of a national network of passionate volunteers.”
Those interested should apply online by Aug. 1, and must submit to and pass a background check. If selected, participants will be required to pay a class fee of $195 and will receive a training manual.
The training consists of 40 hours of hands-on education, offered August through November. Lecture and hands-on activity topics include vegetables, houseplants, compost, fruits, native plants, pest management and more.
Participants must also complete a 40-hour volunteer internship by Dec. 31, 2021, in which they will gain experience helping their community. If not interested in volunteering, there is a separate option called a Pro-Hort trainee, which carries a $550 fee and a certificate upon completion.
Once certified, Master Gardener volunteers can remain active members in the following years by completing 10 hours of continuing education and contributing 20 hours of volunteer community service.
The date and time for each training varies by county, and applications fill quickly, so apply soon. To learn more about an upcoming opportunity, visit the Master Gardener program website, or contact your local county extension office.