If you have an interest in gardening and would like to volunteer in your community, consider joining the Iowa Master Gardener program. Whether you are a long-term veteran of gardening or a novice, you are welcome to join.
The program provides selected volunteers training on many aspects of gardening. In exchange for training, Master Gardeners share their time and knowledge on approved projects within their local communities. Training consists of 40 hours of Web-based broadcasting and face-to-face instruction at extension offices and on the ISU campus. After training, participants must complete a one-year Master Gardener internship consisting of 40 hours of volunteer service. Additional volunteer hours and ongoing training are required in subsequent years to maintain the Master Gardener status.
Since 1979, the Iowa Master Gardener program has trained over 9000 people. Master Gardeners are highly visible volunteers in their counties. Master Gardeners may work at local gardens, schools, nursing homes, or other community beautification or education projects. Master Gardeners answer questions on the radio, give presentations at gardening seminars, and discuss plants at local plant sales. You might talk with Master Gardeners on the phone or via email or at booths at a local farmer's market, county fairs, or home and garden shows. The Master Gardener program is unique both for its community emphasis and because it directly utilizes the broad research-based resources of Iowa State University.
Please consider Master Gardeners when seeking credible information about home gardening in Iowa. And if you are interested in becoming an Iowa Master Gardener, contact your county extension office to find out more information about training in your area. Below is a list of counties that will be conducting training this fall. While the opportunity seems far away, it is this time of year that most gardening questions arise. Plan ahead while the challenges of the season are fresh on your mind! Visit www.iastate.extension.edu for location, phone number and email address of your local Iowa State University extension office.
Counties offering Master Gardener training in the Fall, 2010: Black Hawk, Boone, Bremer/Fayette/Butler Buchanan, Calhoun/Pocahontas/Sac, Cerro Gordo, Clinton, Dallas, Des Moines County, Fremont, Hamilton/Humboldt/Webster/Wright, Hancock/Winnebago/Kossuth, Hardin/Franklin/Butler/Grundy, Harrison/Shelby, Howard/Chickasaw, Ida/Cherokee, Jefferson/Wapello, Johnson/Iowa, Keokuk (may combine with Washington), Linn/Jones/Benton, Lyon/O'Brien/Sioux, Mills, Mitchell, Montgomery, Muscatine, Polk, Scott, Story, Tama, Washington (may combine with Keokuk), West Pottawattamie, and Woodbury
*Don't see your county on the list? Contact them and express your interest in Master Gardener training. There is plenty of time to add more counties to fall training.