Extension Offering Fall Master Gardener Program

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Do you have an interest in gardening and giving back to your community? Then the NC State Extension Master Gardener Program℠ might be for YOU!

Flower GardeningSince 1979, the NC State Extension Master Gardener℠ (EMGV) program has recruited, trained, and engaged people to serve as volunteer educators who strengthen Extension’s delivery of science-based horticultural knowledge to North Carolinians. We connect people to horticulture through science-based education and outreach that enables North Carolinians to cultivate healthy plants, landscapes, ecosystems, and communities.

The program includes more than 3,500 volunteer educators in 83 counties across the state. It’s designed to build your knowledge in the areas of landscapes, lawns, fruits and vegetables, soils, insects, diseases and more plus the opportunity to share your knowledge with others.

No previous formal training is necessary. A desire to learn and to share knowledge IS necessary. An interest in gardening and our ecosystem is helpful too.

Apply to Become an EMG Volunteer

The application process for the program in Jackson and Swain Counties begins on September 11th, 2023. If selected for the program, the next training class begins on October 4th, 2023. Program fees for the EMG Volunteer Training program are $200 per student and include both local and state fees. Online versions of the Extension Gardener Handbook are free, while Hardcopy versions are available for an additional $45.05 + shipping. The EMG Volunteer Training program consists of a Student Phase and an Internship Phase.

After entering the training program, you begin the student phase with a 40 class-hour requirement. There will be 14 classes included in the training. These will consist of two 3-hour classes every month beginning in October, split into a classroom section and a lab section. As the program is going to combine both Swain and Jackson Counties, these classes will be offered through a face-to-face meeting option and a Zoom meeting option with accommodations for lab exercises to be conducted at home for the Zoom participants.

Garding DirtAfter successfully completing the student phase and passing the final exam, the internship phase begins. This 40-hour internship is where the intern works through at least 3 volunteer education projects that we engage in with the public, based on the intern’s preferred way of connecting to the community. The goal is to “Pitch In Where You Fit In”. It may be researching horticulture questions to assist the public with gardening issues, it may be assisting with plant clinics, or educational exhibits. It may be giving brief talks on various gardening topics to help bring the joy of gardening to senior citizens or young children.

What are the benefits to YOU of becoming an EMG Volunteer? You will become a more knowledgeable gardener through beginning and advanced training programs. You will get access to new publications and materials on garden information and methods. You will be able to attend workshops, garden, and nursery tours across NC and internationally! Perhaps best of all, you will meet people who share your interest in gardening and desire to help others too!

To learn more about the program and help us learn more about you, please complete a EMG Volunteer Brief Interest Survey on our website.

The application process begins in September August, so please let us know if you think this opportunity is for you! You can reach me at minda_daughtry@ncsu.edu or 828-586-4009.