The label of Extension Master Gardener seems to carry with it a connotation that each EMG has diverse knowledge of all that grows and any problem that could potentially arise. Individually, none of us has that ability; but collectively, EMGs have access to all that knowledge and more.
The Extension Master Gardener program has been an active part of our community for more than 17 years. This year alone, 75 active EMGs donated 4,350 volunteer hours to the community and received more than 1,820 hours of in-depth education related to all aspects of gardening.
Where did the 4,350 volunteer hours go?
¢ Development and maintenance of the demonstration and learning gardens at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds
¢ Answering garden-related question on the Douglas County Horticulture Hotline
¢ Talks and demonstrations during the Lawrence Garden and Home Show
¢ Flower judging at the Douglas County Fair
¢ Talks and demonstrations during the Fall Garden Festival
¢ Monarch Watch Butterfly Garden maintenance
¢ Maintain the gardens around the Douglas County Courthouse
¢ Junior EMG program for elementary school students
¢ Lawrence Farmers Market volunteer activities
With all this comes a unique blend of learning and sharing and, selfishly, a real increase in knowledge to help yourself and your gardening efforts. If you personally cannot answer a question, you will be working with, or have access to, someone who can.
How can you become an Extension Master Gardener? Applications for the class of 2007 are now being accepted. Training sessions take place at the Douglas County Extension Office, 2110 Harper St. Classes are Tuesdays starting March 6 and run through May 29. They begin at 9 a.m. and end by 4 p.m. Educational talks are conducted in the morning, and outdoor volunteer/learning activities take place in the afternoon. There is a $75 charge to cover the cost of materials needed to participate.
In return, we ask that each EMG trainee volunteer time participating in Douglas County Extension horticulture programs. This request is for only 20 hours of volunteer work and 10 additional hours of training per year. This year's average was 60 volunteer and 20 training hours per person.
Training topics cover all the basic areas of home horticulture. Subjects studied include plant structure, growing fruits and vegetables, flower gardening, lawn care, insect and disease control, indoor gardening, wildlife damage control and prevention, landscape management and design, and much more. Instructors are K-State professors, local gardening experts and staff of cooperating agencies.
If you wish to become one of the 20 new trainees for the Extension Master Gardener volunteer program, call the Extension office at 843-7058 and request an application. They also are available online at www.oznet.ksu.edu/douglas/. Applications are due Feb. 9.