University of California Cooperative Extension accepting applications for Master Gardener program

September 08, 2004
Santa Paula News

The University of California Cooperative Extension of Ventura County (UCCE)is currently accepting applications for its upcoming 2004-2005 Master Gardener training program, slated to begin in late October.

The University of California Cooperative Extension of Ventura County (UCCE)is currently accepting applications for its upcoming 2004-2005 Master Gardener training program, slated to begin in late October. UCCE Master Gardeners are highly-trained and certified volunteers who extend horticultural knowledge to home gardeners, and who serve as volunteers in a variety of settings. Certified Master Gardeners also play a vital role in providing consumers with up-to-date, unbiased, and reliable knowledge.In general, Master Gardeners extend horticultural knowledge and provide practical gardening and landscape information to the community-at-large. Many Ventura County Master Gardeners volunteer at UCs Hansen Agricultural Learning Center at the Faulkner Farm, where they develop and maintain demonstration gardens, work in the greenhouse, or assist UC staff in delivering educational programs to students visiting the farm on school field trips. Other Master Gardeners assist UC scientists conducting appliedagricultural research in Ventura County. Master Gardener volunteers also staff a UC telephone help line and desk twice weekly, fielding questions from home gardeners, sharing information about best practices, and helping members of the community troubleshoot common gardening problems. Master Gardeners also work as volunteers at other sites, including schools, community gardens, at the botanic sites throughout Ventura County, and also provide volunteer service at a wide variety of community events. In alternate years, Master Gardener volunteers offer an all-day gardening symposium for the community-at-large; recent attendance for that event has ranged from 300-400 participants.Entrance to the Master Gardener training program is by application and interview only. Qualifications include a desire to expand ones knowledge of horticulture and an enthusiasm for sharing horticultural skills with the community. Successful MG applicants will receive six months of in-depth training by experts in numerous and varied fields, including botany, horticulture, soils and fertilizers, irrigation, plant propagation techniques, plant pathology, insects, vegetables, pruning techniques, sustainable landscapes, California natives, integrated pest management, plant diseases, and gardening techniques from professionals in the field.Trainees will also have an opportunity to learn about the wide variety of volunteer opportunities open to certified Master Gardeners in Ventura County, including work at UCs Hansen Agricultural Learning Center at the Faulkner Farm in Santa Paula. Classes will be held at the UCCE Office in Ventura or the at the Faulkner Farm in Santa Paula on most Thursday afternoons from 1:00 to 4:30, beginning October 21st, 2004, and concluding April 7th, 2005.
Applications are due on Friday, September 10th. Following application, interview, and acceptance into the Master Gardener Program, trainees are required to attend approximately eighty hours of class time, must pass a comprehensive final exam, and in return for the training, provide a minimum of eighty hours of service to UCCE as a Master Gardener. At the completion of the program, Master Gardener trainees receive formal certification and recognition as a University of California certified Master Gardener. There is a $75.00 materials fee for the training program.Applications are available by calling the UCCE Office at (805) 645-1452, or by emailing Suzy Griggs at sugriggs@ucdavis.edu.



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