The application period is open for Master Gardener training in Kent and Sussex counties. Master Gardeners enjoy gardening, have gardening experience, want to learn more about gardening and have a desire to help others in their community.
Following an intensive 12-week training program with day classes alternating between the two county extension offices, the trainees volunteer a minimum of 45 hours during their first year before becoming official Master Gardeners.
Training is held every other year in the fall. Sessions for the class of 2013 will begin in September, right after Labor Day, and will be completed before Thanksgiving.
Master Gardeners are working volunteers and are supported by Delaware Cooperative Extension through the University of Delaware and Delaware State University Extension offices. Master Gardeners are dedicated to growing a greener Delaware with a more biodiverse and sustainable environment.
They extend the home garden outreach of Delaware Cooperative Extension, staffing garden hotlines for much of the year, offering information at events such as community fairs, festivals and farmers' markets, talking to local civic groups and working with youth groups and schools.
Many provide workshops on favorite garden topics and are available through a speakers' bureau to make presentations for community groups upon request. A group of puppeteers in Sussex County performs an educational version of "Peter Rabbit" to the delight of children of all ages.
Tracy Wootten, horticultural agent for Sussex County, said, "Without these wonderful volunteers, Cooperative Extension would not be able to provide the impressive amount of outreach that is being offered to local Delaware communities."
The training program includes formal lectures, discussion sessions, tours, workshops and problem-solving sessions. Advanced training opportunities include state, regional and national workshops, lectures at monthly business meetings, special training sessions, and the shared experiences of a group of skilled, experienced gardeners.
The application can be found at extension.udel.edu/lawngarden/master-gardener-volunteer-educators/become-a-master-gardener.
Send completed applications to Kent County Extension Office, 69 Transportation Circle, Dover, DE 19901.
All applications must be received by Saturday, June 1. Class size is limited. All applicants must attend a reception from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, June 20, at the Kent County Extension office. Those who are accepted will be notified by letter and will receive further information about classes. It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age or national origin. The Delaware Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program is provided in coordination with the University of Delaware and Delaware State University.
For more information, contact Tracy Wootten or Tammy Schirmer in Sussex County, 302-856-2585, Ext. 544 or Maggie Moor-Orth in Kent County, 302-857-6426, or the University of Delaware Paradee Center Kent County Extension office at 302-730-4000.