Last updated: June 01. 2013 10:44AM - 212 Views
Erik Spencer Hill
Staff Reporter



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A new opportunity will soon be available for the local gardening community. The Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program is coming to Stokes County in 2013, and a planning meeting will be held on Dec. 4 in preparation.


Those interested can attend the planning / informational meeting at the Stokes Cooperative Extension office on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.


There is no cost to attend the informational meeting. The cost of the Extension Master Gardener Program will be $100 per person. Participants in the program will get the Extension Master Gardener Training Manual, filled with first rate, up to the minute horticulture information.


There will be 16 weeks of intensive horticulture training. The program provides people with the opportunity to participate in lots of activities such as creating and maintaining a demonstration garden; gardening with the elderly and handicapped; working at county fairs and plant clinics; conducting school gardening programs; giving talks to groups interested in horticulture; working on special events projects; planning and completing community beautification projects; photographing Master Gardener activities; judging school science fairs; and establishing and maintaining community gardens.


To help you decide if you should apply to become a Master Gardener Volunteer, ask yourself these questions: Do I want to learn more about the culture of many types of plants? Am I eager to participate in a practical and intense training program? Do I look forward to sharing knowledge with people in my community? Do I have enough time to attend training sessions and to serve as a volunteer? If you answered yes to these questions, the Extension Master Gardener Program could be for you.


From 1914 until after World War II, the main audience for the Cooperative Extension program was the American farm family. But the explosive growth of the American suburbs in the 1950s and 1960s fueled unprecedented interest in lawns, ornamental gardens, and small-scale vegetable crops. Local county extension offices in booming areas began to be overwhelmed with questions pouring in from suburban homeowners. To meet this challenge, the effort that would become the first Master Gardener program was launched in 1973 by Washington State’s Cooperative Extension Service.


A small cadre of volunteers underwent formal training to handle typical inquiries about lawn care, flower and vegetable gardens, pesticides, the environment and more. The volunteer force quickly proved its worth to the extension program as they did indeed afford local extension agents more time to focus on educational programs and the more technical horticulture questions. The Master Gardener concept soon spread, eventually taking root in all 50 states. Today, thousands of certified Master Gardener volunteers throughout the nation work alongside Cooperative Extension staff to reach out to the public through workshops, publications, demonstration gardens, plant clinics, telephone hotlines and other projects.

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