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Master Gardener Volunteer Training Begins August 8

Master Gardener volunteer Sharon Krueger in greenhouse

UF/IFAS Extension Manatee County is currently taking applications for their Florida Master Gardener training class for new volunteers. The class begins August 8, 2018, meeting every Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for 14 weeks.  Class sessions are held at the Manatee County Agriculture and Extension Service, 1303 17th St. West (Manatee County Fairgrounds) in Palmetto.  A fee of $200 includes all workbooks, textbooks, and field trips.  This training is open to any resident of Manatee County.

Interested residents may stop by or call the Master Gardener Plant Clinic (941-722-4524) to request an information packet and application. The information packet is also available online at https://bit.ly/2rLktNN  and the application at https://bit.ly/2L3TGEA .  Get your application in now – the deadline has been extended to July 6, 2018.

Volunteer Service

Trainees pair with veteran Master Gardeners who serve as mentors in the program.  Upon completion of the training and internship portion, participants are certified as “FLORIDA MASTER GARDENERS” by the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service. Working with the Urban Horticulture Extension Agent, Master Gardeners provide volunteer service by disseminating horticultural information to the public in Manatee County. This consists of such activities as answering gardening questions, conducting plant diagnostic clinics, working in the Extension’s Educational Demonstration Garden, and other activities to promote Florida-Friendly, scientific-based horticultural practices. Each year, a minimum number of volunteer hours and continued education units are required in order to maintain status as a Florida Master Gardener.

Manatee County is one of the three original counties in Florida to hold Master Gardener training; the program has been in place since 1979 and has provided training to hundreds of quality volunteers. This year’s class topics include basic botany, entomology, vegetable gardening, wildlife, diagnosing plant problems, plant identification, citrus care, plant propagation, turf selection and care, and many other subjects. Prior gardening experience is not required.