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Grow with us! Become a U of M Extension Master Gardener


By Jerrold Tesmer

Fri, Sep 6th, 2013
Posted in All Agriculture

By Jerrold Tesmer, Extension Educator for Fillmore/Houston Counties

Who are Master Gardeners?

Master Gardeners are from all walks of life and volunteer on behalf of their university. They are eager to share best practices in gardening with people in their community that promote healthy landscapes, healthy foods, and healthy lives. They have completed a university-taught core course and contributed a certain number of hours to teaching research-based horticulture practices in their communities.

Important dates and deadlines

•October 1: Deadline for application to local/county program

•Tuesday before Thanksgiving: Deadline for submission of background check data

•December 1: Deadline for EMG Core Course registration

Steps to becoming an

Extension Master Gardener

1. Be selected by your local county program for a Master Gardener internship

•Contact your local county program and request an internship application packet.

•Complete and submit the application. Applications are due by October 1.

•Be selected for an interview.

•Submit and pass a background check (online).

•Receive notification that background check has cleared, then register for core course and pay the class fee of $275 (includes materials). Registration is due by December 1.

2. Complete the Extension Master Gardener core course

•48-hours horticulture online training, January 13 – May 9.

•Reliable internet access required.

•Taught by Extension educators and faculty on the St. Paul campus and the U of M Landscape Arboretum.

•Topics: Extension & the Master Gardener program, critical thinking and navigating culture, soils, entomology, botany, diagnostics, trees & shrubs, herbaceous plants, lawn care, plant pathology, weeds, wildlife, integrated pest management, vegetables, fruits.

3. Share your knowledge: volunteer 50 hours

•Volunteer on projects and events that deliver horticulture education and information to the public.

•Volunteer – and learn! - alongside experienced EMG volunteers.

•Report your volunteer hours online by December 31.

•Individuals who drop out of the internship before fulfilling the educational and volunteering requirements will be required to pay an additional $300.

4. Celebrate!

When your internship is completed, you’ll start the next calendar year as an active University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener in your community.

5. Stay involved

To maintain your active Extension Master Gardener volunteer status, you will complete at least 25 hours of volunteer time and the required continuing education five hours per year.

Grow with us!

Questions? Contact: Jerrold Tesmer, Extension Educator Fillmore/Houston Counties; tesme001@umn.edu

Fillmore County Extension Office, 902 Houston Street NW #3, Preston Minn. 55965; phone 507-765-3896

Houston County Extension Office, 911 Vista Drive, Suite #2, Caledonia Minn. 55921; phone 507-725-5807

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