Could you be a Master Gardener?

Do you like to learn about plants, growing things and gardening?

Are you willing to participate in an intensive training program?

Do you like working with people, sharing your knowledge, and offering help?

Do you have time to train and volunteer in our community?

Who are Master Gardeners?

Master Gardeners are volunteer educators of the horticultural arts and sciences. With training from UF/IFAS Extension, Master Gardeners are active in their communities, offering leadership and guidance in gardening projects of all types and sizes. The Florida Master Gardener Program has been around since 1979, and each year, approximately 4,700 Master Gardeners contribute a total of 420,000 hours of service, helping to make their communities better informed, more sustainable, and more beautiful.

 

What do Master Gardeners learn?

 

If you’re accepted into the Master Gardener training program, you’ll receive 50 hours or more of practical horticultural training on topics such as:

• Botany

• Plant pathology & integrated pest management

• Soil management & plant nutrition

• Growing garden vegetables, fruit crops, trees, & turf

• Florida-Friendly Landscaping™

• Working with the public

 

What do Master Gardeners do?

 

Once you’ve successfully completed the training, you’re required to volunteer a minimum of 75 hours the first year to achieve Master Gardener certification. After the first year, you are required to complete 35 volunteer hours and 10 continuing education hours yearly in order to re-certify. Master Gardeners work closely with the public, answering questions and providing guidance over the phone or in person, participating in community and school garden projects and many other activities. Many Master Gardeners far exceed the required service hours, and continue in the program well beyond the first year because of their passion for gardening and willingness to help others in their community. UF/IFAS Extension provides advanced training to keep Master Gardeners up to date on the latest horticultural information.

 

Where do you start?

 

The desire to help others is the first and absolute requirement. A personal commitment to complete the training and to serve the required volunteer service hours is equally important. Enrollment is limited and selection can be highly competitive.

 

Ability to use a computer and access to email is desired, but not required.

 

The 2019 Gulf County Master Gardener course will be taught on Monday mornings from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. beginning April 1 and continuing through July 22. Additionally, three field trips are being planned. Locations will vary, as the classes will either be held at the Gulf County Extension main office in Wewahitchka at 232 East Lake Ave. or at the satellite office in Port St. Joe at 502 East 4th Street, depending upon the finalized schedule.

 

Requirements to become a Master Gardener:

 

• Complete a Master Gardener Application (sprout kit) by drop off (at either library or Extension Office in Wewa) or be post marked by Friday, March 22 (deadline extended).

• Pay a $100 Fee - covers course materials (will be refunded immediately, if not selected)

• Complete interview and background check

• Complete 50 hours of training (includes classroom and field trips)

• Complete 75 volunteer hours within the first year of certification through the Gulf County Extension Office. Master Gardeners can fulfill their volunteer hours in a variety of ways, including: answering horticultural questions, participating in community and school garden projects, giving educational programs to the public, supporting youth activities, and more.

 

Remember space is limited!

 

For any additional information, questions or obtaining a sprout kit email the Gulf County Master Gardeners at gulfmg@ifas.ufl.edu or contact the Gulf County Extension Director & Master Gardener Coordinator, Ray Bodrey at 639-3200. For a sprout kit in paper form, please stop by the Port St. Joe or Wewahitchka Library.