MASTER GARDENERS: Want to be a Master Gardener? Part 2

Along Debbie Roland

master gardener

In last week’s article, I explained why I want to be a master gardener. Below is a little history and what you can actually expect during your training.

The Extension Master Gardener Program, which began in 1978, was founded in Washington State. All Master Gardener programs are run by the State Land Grant College or the college’s AgriLife Extension Service and allow volunteers to serve as horticulturists, educators, and leaders. A local chapter, the Permian Basin Master Gardeners, with members from Odessa and the Midlands and surrounding areas, trains volunteers in aspects of gardening in dry climates and operates under Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Services. I am active in Our program is overseen by Master Gardener Coordinator Sarah Durand, a local horticultural extensionist.

Class hours and volunteer hours are invested in the future of West Texas. (photo courtesy)

Local Master Gardener chapters require 60 hours of classroom instruction and 60 hours of volunteer work in the first year. Extensive training in horticulture requires dedication, motivation, and availability. You must attend all classes and take advantage of the opportunities presented. Volunteer projects include working at a food bank, a master gardener’s booth at a farmer’s market, annual plant sales, sponsoring Kids, Kows & More, and other projects that chapters participate in.

Classes start on January 14th and run one day a week until the final class on April 29th. Some classes are held in Odessa, some in Midland, and some online. Every class or other project you attend not only teaches you, but prepares you to teach others. Some people speak naturally, while others “better be in the box than give compliments.” please do not worry. Even if you don’t like public speaking, you can use your talents elsewhere.

The Master Gardener’s goal is to teach the community where it is most needed. Some of the topics are tree care and biology, soil and composting, botany, turfgrass, landscape, vegetables and fruits, water, and other related topics.

As a Certified Master Gardener, you represent AgriLife in a professional manner while attending monthly meetings, committee meetings, accepting volunteer assignments, and recording teaching and volunteer time in the systems provided.

The requirements for maintaining certification are much simpler. Volunteering 30 hours a year and she needs 12 hours of continuing education. Your level of involvement and commitment is up to you.

All Master Gardeners are passionate about different aspects of the program. that’s what makes it work. I may not be able to answer all the questions that have been asked, but there are other members as well as Texas A&M AgriLife who can be reached for answers.

Contact Sara Moran at the Midland Agrilife office at 432-686-4700 or [email protected]You are glad that you did.

If you have any questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or Midland at 686-4700.

Additional information and a blog to access past articles are available at Click Resources.

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