Gardeners come from all walks of life and have a wide range of backgrounds, skills and experiences. But some gardeners possess two traits that make them excellent candidates for becoming Extension Master Gardener volunteers: a passion for learning and a desire to share knowledge with others. As we turn the corner on 2006, it is once again time to recruit and train another class of EMG volunteers. Here is how you can become involved with the EMG program and make a difference in our community:
The EMG program is a unique blend of learning and sharing. Learning includes all areas of home horticulture. Instructors are Kansas State University professors, local gardening experts and a staff of cooperating agencies. Thirty-nine hours of quality instructional time in 13 weeks. Sharing takes the form of community service. Trained volunteers use their knowledge to teach friends, family and fellow gardeners what they have learned about gardening. With options such as the telephone hot line, speakers bureau, demonstration gardens and public outreach activities, there is always some way for every volunteer to be involved on a variety of levels.
Training classes take place at the Douglas County Extension Office, 2110 Harper St. The session begins March 7 and runs for 13 Tuesdays, ending May 30. Educational talks are conducted in the morning, and outdoor hands-on learning activities take place in the afternoon. There is a $75 charge for the class that covers the cost of materials needed to participate.
Some of the subjects covered in the class are basic plant growth, building soil, growing fruits and vegetables, growing flowers with pizzazz, lawn care, insect and disease management, indoor gardening, coping with urban wildlife, landscape design, landscape plant management and a lot more. Hands-on learning activities include building a birdhouse; designing and building a compost bin; proper fertilization of grass, trees and shrubs; and planting and pruning trees in the home landscape. Likewise, participants will be able to garner tips from the experienced EMGs as they work side by side in the demonstration garden.
The Extension Master Gardener program has been an active part of our community for more than 15 years. There were some 80 EMG volunteers who donated more than 4,000 hours of their time helping to educate follow gardeners last year. Contact my office if you are interested in learning more about what it means to become an EMG volunteer, or download an application at www.oznet.ksu.edu/douglas.