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Training offered for Master Gardeners

Have you ever wished you could be a master gardener? Here's a great local opportunity to be held at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) in Morris.

Do you have an interest in gardening and want to know more about lawn management, home landscaping, indoor plants, herbaceous ornamentals, fruits and vegetables, trees and others?

The Minnesota Master Gardener Core Course is a series of University of Minnesota classes beginning March 15, 2011. As a master gardener, you will be helping people appreciate horticulture and the environment while you enhance your own knowledge and skills. Course content is research-based, taught by university experts, and geared toward use in the home landscape.

Classes are open to master gardener interns (those who enroll to be educated to bring information to the gardening public), prohort students (those who enroll for personal education or continuing education related to industry certification), and university students, who may earn university credit. The course is also available online.

After classroom training during the first year, you volunteer for 50 hours of education and internship teaching others in your county. In the years following, 25 volunteer hours are required to maintain your master gardener requirements.

In Minnesota, there are more than 2,000 active master gardener volunteers who teach, present, demonstrate and help citizens to learn best practices in the areas of growing food, youth education, and environmental issues.

University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners is part of the national cooperative Extension system. More than 94,000 people volunteer as master gardeners in 50 states. The program was established by the University in Minnesota in 1972.

If interested, you can apply at your local county Extension office. A few basic questions are asked, a simple interview is taken, and a basic background check is done. If accepted, registration is done online at with payment by credit card only. Registration deadline is February 15.

Class fees are $250 for master gardener interns and $550 for prohort students. University credit students pay university class fees.

WCROC class dates are Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 15 to April 9, 2011. Class will not be held on March 20.

For registration questions, contact customer service at 1-800-876-8636 or (612) 624-4900.