Gardening is so much fun and can bring joy to everyone who passes by your garden. It is also a great way to get outside and be active. If you are one who enjoys gardening and would like to learn more about it you might be interested in the Extension Master Gardener program. It is a great way to connect with other gardeners, learn more about gardening, and volunteer to improve community garden spaces and educate others about the things learned in the classes.
The Nebraska Extension Master Gardener program is a horticulture related volunteer training program based in many counties throughout the state. It has been part of Nebraska Extension since 1976. Extension Master Gardener volunteers are trained by Nebraska Extension faculty and staff who then take that knowledge gained to volunteer in their community. They contribute time as volunteers working with their local Extension office to provide horticulture-related information to their community. Participants are required to complete 40 hours of training and 40 hours of volunteer service to become an Extension Master Gardener. In Beatrice and Wilber, this is completed by 20 hours of each education and volunteer service throughout the first two years of their involvement while they are an intern in the program. Extension Master Gardener volunteers retain their certification through a minimum of 10 hours of educational training and 20 hours of volunteering annually.
Each year the Master Gardener program is held throughout the state, including many locations in southeast Nebraska. The programs are held from 6:30-9 p.m. on Tuesday nights at the Gage County Extension Office in Beatrice. This year the programs run from February 4-March 17. The schedule for the classes is as follows:
February 4- Introduction & Insects in the Garden– Nicole Stoner
February 11- Landscape Management – Terri James
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February 18- Rots and Spots – Kyle Broderick
February 25- Soils – Becky Young
March 3- Bugs – Jody Green
March 10- Dividing Herbaceous Perennials – Miranda Earnest
March 17- Galls – Nicole Stoner
This class will also be provided in Wilber following the same schedule on Wednesday afternoons from 1-3:30 p.m. It will run from February 12 through March 25 at the Saline County Extension Office. There are also many other opportunities and locations to take the Master Gardener Classes. Please contact Nicole if you are interested or if you would like to find another location for the classes.
The cost of the Master Gardener program is $160 for the first year, which includes a book, t-shirt, and nametag. For returning Master Gardeners the cost is just $15. Please contact Nicole at the Gage County Extension office at 402-223-1384 to sign up for the program. The deadline for enrollment into the class is January 31, 2020.