Are you a candidate for the Charlotte County Master Gardener Volunteer Program? Do you enjoy meeting and talking with people? Do you like searching for answers to gardening questions that you or others have? If so, you may be just who we are looking for! Master Gardeners Volunteers are trained volunteers who provide the public with gardening programs and activities that draw on the horticultural research and experience of the University of Florida Extension Service. Each Master Gardener Volunteer receives research-based instruction in all areas of Florida home horticulture and is kept up to date with the latest developments in landscape troubleshooting from the UF/IFAS Charlotte County Extension Service. In return, Master Gardener Volunteers volunteer an equivalent number of hours sharing their knowledge with interested gardeners in the community. Your chance is coming – the 2023 Training is just around the corner!
Charlotte County’s Master Gardener Volunteer Program, along with similar programs in other counties in Florida, is directly linked to the University of Florida as part of its national Land Grant College charter. It is this tie to the University that provides Master Gardener Volunteer’s state-of-the-art gardening knowledge. The Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a world-class national program of trained volunteers who work in partnership with their county Extension office to extend horticultural information throughout the community. The first Master Gardener Volunteer program was started in Washington State in the early 1970’s and has been in Charlotte County since 1983. The Training Class of 2023 will be our 40th year with this program – a proud milestone of excellence!
Master Gardener Volunteers work on a variety of programs and activities. Those who work the Helpdesk, open Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 4 PM, answer questions and diagnose plant insect and disease problems. Others operate booths at shows and fairs talking with people about gardening, some even work within the subject of horticultural therapy. Many volunteers conduct talks, others even host gardening radio call-in programs! An educational Demonstration Garden is also maintained as well as weekly plant clinics open across the county. What else? There are opportunities for advanced in-service training, tours, conferences, and other special activities which round out the experience, making it as social as it is educational.
Who can be a Master Gardener Volunteer? Anyone who enjoys gardening and has a desire to share their knowledge and skills in their community can become a Master Gardener Volunteer. Candidates apply and are interviewed prior to attending the intensive, yet enjoyable, training course on all aspects of home gardening. Volunteers then volunteer the required amount of time in bringing our educational message to the community. A certain amount of re-certification hours are also expected which keeps volunteers on the cutting edge of gardening knowledge.
December and January are the months we begin to recruit for the next class which is scheduled to begin the first week of March 2023! Now is the time to apply. Give our office a call at 764-4340 for more information. Check out the application which is now on-line at – MyImpactPage – Application Form – Charlotte County (betterimpact.com).
Talk with a Charlotte County Master Gardener Volunteer – they will tell you why gardening is America’s number one hobby! Continue this tradition and consider becoming a Charlotte County Master Gardener Volunteer!
For more information on all types of gardening topics in our area, you can also call the Master Gardener Volunteer Helpdesk on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 4 pm at 764-4340 for gardening help and insight into their role as an Extension volunteer. Ralph E. Mitchell is the Director/Horticulture Agent for UF/IFAS Extension – Charlotte County. He can be reached at 941-764-4344 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Connect with us on social media. Like us on Facebook @CharlotteCountyExtension and follow us on Instagram @ifascharco.