Apply Now to Become an Iowa Master Gardener

AMES, Iowa – Become an Iowa Master Gardener by completing the core training course this fall through an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach County office. Gardeners will learn best practices for choosing plants, designing gardens and managing pests. Classes start at all locations in September 2016.
“Starting this fall, people can begin their journey to become a master gardener volunteer,” said Susan DeBlieck, program assistant in the Master Gardener program at ISU Extension and Outreach. “The training course includes lectures on gardening subjects, from growing vegetables and fruits to designing gardens with native plants.”
After completing the course, master gardener trainees start their work as volunteers within the community. Upon completion of 40 hours of volunteer service, the master gardener title becomes official and they join thousands of other Iowa volunteers.
“Master gardeners provide information and education to Iowans," DeBlieck said. "They are a community resource for establishing community gardens, helping people identify plant diseases and growing nectar plants for pollinators." In 2015, over 120,000 volunteer hours were logged by Iowa Master Gardeners.
DeBlieck notes a second enrollment option for those not interested in volunteering. Registering as a professional horticulture trainee ($550 fee) offers the same educational course and materials, but participants earn a certificate upon completion without having to provide the 40 hours of community service.
Master gardener core training courses are provided by local ISU Extension and Outreach county offices on Tuesdays evenings from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., starting in September and one Saturday daytime class on Oct. 8 or 22 at Iowa State University in Ames. Three face to face lectures covering vegetables, herbs, plant propagation, houseplants and herbaceous ornamentals will also be part of the training.
The core training courses will be hosted by ISU Extension and Outreach offices throughout the state at these locations:
• Adel, Dallas County
• Altoona, Polk County
• Ames, Story County
• Audubon, Audubon County
• Bettendorf, Scott County
• Cherokee, Cherokee County
• Council Bluffs, West Pottawattamie County
• Denison, Crawford County
• DeWitt, Clinton County
• Eldora, Hardin County
• Fort Dodge, Webster County
• Iowa City, Johnson County
• Muscatine, Muscatine County
• Osceola, Clarke County
• Oskaloosa, Mahaska County
• Sibley, Osceola County
• Storm Lake, Buena Vista County
• Vinton, Benton County

Photo: A master gardener volunteer for Polk County’s Enabling Gardens. Courtesy Paula Winslow
About the Author
Susan DeBlieck
Extension Master Gardener Program Specialist
Those interested in the course can apply at…. Apply now, as space is limited for each location. Accepted participants will be notified by Sept. 11, 2016. The three-month course fee is designated by each training location.

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