Whether you’re an old hand at gardening or a newbie, Master Gardener training will enhance your knowledge as well as your enthusiasm. In helping yourself, you’ll also be helping the community.
“Being a WSU Master Gardener means being a part of making a community difference — being a part of something bigger than oneself, and being a part of a group of people who are friends,” explains Jennifer Marquis, Chelan County coordinator for the program.
Once-a-year training is coming up right after New Year’s, and due date for applications is Oct. 25, just a couple of weeks away. Class size is limited, so it’s time to be deciding if this opportunity is for you.
Classes are tentatively scheduled Tuesday mornings, starting Jan. 7 and running through April 23, 2014, although much of your education will be online.
“Widespread access to WSU Master Gardener training has never been more convenient,” explains Marquis. “Whether you live in Bridgeport or Plain, Manson or Palisades, you can learn through the Internet right in the comfort of your own home.”
Manson resident Heidi Desmarais took training in 2010 and says she’s a poster girl for online MG training; When taking training, she was a dental clinical hygienist working full time, so couldn’t attend regular classes. Going online was helpful because she lives out of town. She’s the motivated type so she just cruised through training and is now co-chairing such activities as our Pybus Market booth and Tomato Gala.
This is your chance to learn more about botany, entomology, soils, lawns, plant identification and diagnosing plant problems, to name a few subjects. It’s also where you’ll rub shoulder to shoulder with gardeners with different interests — one may be the go-to person about pollinators, vegetable growing or soil problems. None of us know it all, but combining our knowledge, we make a pretty fine team.
Marquis estimates it may take about 120 hours of computer work, assignments, reading and class time to complete the training. Cost of the course is $170.
After completing the training course, you become an intern and volunteer 100 hours of service giving back to the community. This is where you really learn the nitty gritty and get experience.
If you’re interested in learning more about the volunteer program, contact Marquis at 667-6540 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. It might just be your cup of tea.
If training isn’t in your plans this year, how about signing up to receive emails of upcoming Master Gardener educational events? You’ll be aware of gardening events scheduled for our Community Education and Xeric demonstration gardens, information about our annual plant sale and other activities. Email Marquis to get on the list.
A WSU Master Gardeners of Chelan County column appears weekly in the At Home section. Mary Fran McClure is one of three columnists featured.