By Rachel Emily Auton
Feb. 3, 2014. The Watauga County Cooperative Extension Service is accepting applications for their 2014 Master Gardener Program now through March 17.
“Master Gardeners are ambassadors of the state extension service,” said Paige Patterson, Consumer Horticulture Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.
“They help to increase the capacity of how we can help people. We give them the education they need to give back to the community.”
Participants will receive Master Gardener certification upon completion of 40 classroom training hours, 40 volunteer service hours and a final exam.
Training is held over 11 to 13 weeks beginning April 1 on Tuesday mornings from 8:30 am to 12:00 p.m. The nonspecific nature of the training duration takes into account still to be determined field trips and activities. The course fee of $110 covers the class manual, supplies and state Master Gardener dues.
The extensive program covers a vast array of horticultural subjects including botany, plant propagation, houseplants, lawns, plant insects and diseases, weeds, fruits and vegetables, flowering plants and landscape design in both organic and traditional perspectives.
Participants in the program have the opportunity to design their own volunteer services, said Patterson. Previous Watauga Master Gardeners lent their services to the likes of the Daniel Boone Gardens and the Adopt-a-Park program.
The Extension Master Gardener title encompasses not only an expansive horticultural skill set but also a network and community of likeminded individuals.
“The Master Gardener Program is a wonderful opportunity to gain more knowledge in a wide range of gardening subject matter, along with a way to meet new friends, and give back to the community,” Patterson said.
The North Carolina’s Master Gardener program was established in 1979 and is now active in 73 counties with more than 4,000 volunteers. The state program has strong affiliations with, and is funded in part by North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University.
Prospective applicants can pick up applications at the Watauga County Cooperative Extension Service’s office at 971 West King Street, Boone, N.C.
For more information on the program, visit www.ncstategardening.org.