Boots & Badges
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"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Become a master gardener

Fri, Sep 24th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

The success of the University of Minnesota Master Gardener program starts with the quality and passion if its volunteers. It is the motivation, enthusiasm, and knowledge of the trained volunteers that make the Master Gardener program a valued resource for Minnesota communities.

You can learn about becoming a Master Gardener via the State Master Gardener website as well as through the County Extension Office. There are three initial steps required in becoming a Master Gardener volunteer. The three steps include a written application, an informal interview, and a personal background check.

Since 2007, a background check has been required for all incoming MG interns.

Because of varied Master Gardener projects and audiences it is in the best interest of the Master Gardener program, as well as the new volunteer, that background checks are administered on all new interns.

Once selected as an intern for the local MG program, the Master Gardener intern registers at the state level for core course training. This is done online, with options to pay either by credit card or check. There is also a phone number to call for assistance with registration. No one can register for the core course until they are approved at the local level.

This year we have two options in southeast Minnesota: an online class from Jan. 10 - May 6, 2011, covering one horticulture topic per week, or face-to-face classes in Winona, January 29 - February 26, 2011, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Winona Historical Society, 160 Johnson Street, Winona. The registration deadline is December 29, 2011. No refunds for volunteers after January 5, 2011.

Master Gardeners are required to volunteer 50 hours the first year and 25 hours annually thereafter. Active volunteers are asked to participate in continuing education of five hours per year.

Activities of Master Gardeners vary from county to county but may include: teaching classes and workshops; answering phone inquiries concerning home horticulture; teaching and demonstrating horticulture techniques in community and school gardens; teaching youth and judging horticulture projects; media interviews and articles on horticulture topics; speaking to schools and youth groups on gardening topics; holding plant clinics at garden centers and farmer's markets; and representing the program at county and state fair exhibits.

Registration for the 2011 classes will be open October 1, 2010. Class fees for online and face-to-face classes for Master Gardener Interns is $250, this includes class materials.

For further information check the Master Gardener website at: or contact the Houston County Extension Office at 507-725-5807, the Fillmore County Extension Office at 507-765-3896, or e-mail

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