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Become a Master Gardener

JoAnne Skelly
For the Nevada Appeal

Here are the garden classes you have been waiting for! University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener training will be offered Sept. 7-Nov. 9. Classes will meet 9 a.m.-noon Monday and Tuesday at the Carson City and Douglas County Cooperative Extension offices. If you are interested in the Reno program, it is scheduled for early spring 2011.

The classes will cover botany, soils, plant nutrition, plant care, pest management, plant identification, pruning, entomology, plant pathology, turf management, woody plants, fruit trees, vegetables, weeds, landscape design and plant problem diagnosis. The classes are taught by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Nevada Department of Agriculture and local specialists.

The Northern Nevada Master Gardener program started in 1984; since then more than 1,000 Master Gardeners have completed the program and have volunteered thousands of hours each year to improving their communities. This program provides you with the skills to become a certified Master Gardener volunteer through University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, the outreach arm of the University of Nevada, Reno.

Master Gardeners are leaders in environmental stewardship through education, teaching people how to reduce pesticide use, how to use water wisely, how to keep plants healthy and beautiful, and how to produce food at home for greater food security. You will be given additional community service and valuable learning opportunities each year. In order to maintain certification, Master Gardeners volunteer a minimum of 30 hours per year.

When you complete your training, pass an open-book exam and volunteer 50 hours of community service, you become a certified Master Gardener, joining a cadre of trained volunteers across the country. This title belongs to Cooperative Extension and may only be used in Cooperative Extension activities. Although volunteering for the Master Gardener program is a great horticultural experience, it may not be credited to personal enterprises.

If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener in order to serve your community, please call Wendy Hanson Mazet, 775-784-4848 extension 120. There will be an orientation to the program 9-10:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 5, at the Carson City Cooperative Extension office, 2621 Northgate Lane, Suite. 12. Please call early to reserve your seat.

Anyone interested in the program should attend the orientation to get more information on the benefits of being a Master Gardener and on the numerous volunteer opportunities. The fee for the training and all necessary materials is $125. Some scholarships are available.

• JoAnne Skelly is the Carson City/Storey County Extension educator for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and may be reached at skellyj@unce.unr.edu or 887-2252.