Master Gardener Training available this fall in Cherokee

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Master Gardener program will hold its core training sessions this fall for individuals interested in becoming Master Gardeners.

The Master Gardener program is looking for people who are passionate about volunteering and gardening. No previous garden knowledge is required. The program equips volunteers to grow in knowledge about gardening best practices, contribute produce to food banks to enhance food security, and make Iowa’s fairgrounds and main streets beautiful.

“Master Gardeners provide information and education to Iowans,” said Susan DeBlieck, ISU Extension and Outreach Master Gardener assistant coordinator. “They are excellent community resources who help make the state a better place to live.”

The ISU Extension and Outreach Cherokee County office will hold training sessions on Monday nights beginning Sept. 11 at the ISU Extension and Outreach Cherokee County office (209 Centennial Drive, Cherokee). The training will be held from 6:30 to approximately 9:30 p.m. There will also be a training session held on the Iowa State University campus on Saturday, October 7 and 21.

Those interested in the course can apply at https://mastergardenerhours.hort.iastate.edu/application-form.php. Applications for the Master Gardener Program are due by September 1 to participate in 40 hours of Master Gardener training.

Training fees are $195; however, the Cherokee County Extension Council has agreed to sponsor $100 of that fee for the first 10 participants to sign up for the training in Cherokee.

After completing the course, Master Gardener trainees start their work as volunteers within the community, volunteering 20 hours per year while building their gardening know-how by participating in ten hours of continuing education.

Individuals not interested in becoming a Master Gardener volunteer can still receive training. The ProHort program allows individuals to gain knowledge while earning a certificate of completion. Cost for the ProHort program is $550 and does not include any volunteer requirements.

Master Gardeners donated nearly 120,000 volunteer hours during 2016, providing the equivalent of $2.6 million of labor to help beautify Iowa and address ongoing food security issues.