By Adam Austing, University of Minnesota Extension
Do you have an active interest in gardening? Do you have a desire to share your gardening interest with others? Are you willing to learn more about gardening and other horticultural topics? Are you able to communicate with groups of people? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you have the qualities we look for in the Extension Master Gardener Program.
In 2019, 2,408 certified Extension Master Gardeners volunteered across the state of Minnesota contributing over 140,000 volunteer hours and reached over 195,000 Minnesota residents. These volunteers are extremely dedicated and put in time and effort towards continuing education. If you believe that you have the skills and passion it takes to be an Extension Master Gardener, applications open in early July.
The process of becoming an Extension Master Gardener begins with a core course which can be taken online or in person. The core course takes approximately 50 hours to complete at cost of $320. Financial assistance is available on a case-by-case basis. You can talk to your local program coordinator if this is a barrier to your ability to join the program. We are happy to work with you to find a solution that works for all of us.
Extension Master Gardeners work hard to give back to their communities each year. As a first-year Extension Master Gardener you will put in 50 hours of volunteer time. Each year after that the required amount is just 25 hours. Many volunteers far exceed this number, because they are excited and passionate about the program. Your local program coordinator and fellow volunteers will help you discover volunteer opportunities in your county. These opportunities may be tailored to your specific areas of interests.
If you are interested in becoming an Extension Master Gardener or learning more about the program, please contact your local program coordinator. The applications are now available, and we look forward to welcoming new volunteers in 2021. All applications must be submitted no later than October 1, 2020. Residents of Wright County can contact Adam Austing at (763) 682-7381 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss local opportunities.