Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Class

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The Extension Master Gardener℠ volunteer program has grown rapidly in North Carolina since it began in 1972. Thousands of volunteers have been trained to meet the increasing requests from this state’s gardeners. Some who have successfully completed the program have developed environmental education programs for children and teaching centers for waste composting. The key to a successful Master Gardener volunteer program is the trained volunteer. The entire concept is based on volunteers willing to share their knowledge and time with others to improve the quality of peoples’ lives.

The classes cover consumer horticulture topics such as insect and disease control, lawn care, landscape maintenance, soil management, vegetable and fruit gardening, ornamental trees, and shrubs. Classes are conducted by N.C. Cooperative Extension agents, specialists from North Carolina State University, area specialized agents, and Master Gardener volunteers.

In Lenoir County, hurricanes and flooding have delayed the Extension Master Gardener volunteer training class for many years. The delay in offering a new training class here has resulted in the availability of brand new materials. The North Carolina Extension Gardener Handbook was just published by NC State Extension College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State University. Many, many hands have sculpted the words, pictures, and design of the new book.

N.C. Cooperative Extension in Lenoir County will teach a Master Gardener volunteer training class starting January 24, 2019. The class will consist of 10 weekly classes and a field trip. The class will be taught on Thursday afternoons from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Lenior County Center located south of Kinston on Highway 55 and 11. Perspective volunteers receive training in all areas of horticulture.

The training will include a trip to Raleigh to tour the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Soil and Solution Lab, Plant Disease, and Insect Clinic at NC State University and the JC Raulston Arboretum. The mission of the Master Gardener volunteer program is to train volunteers to develop and deliver consumer horticultural programs that meet the needs of county residents. Upon completion of training, the volunteers participate for one year in various community activities to “pay back” their training hours. Many volunteers choose to continue to give of their time and talents in the program after the initial 40 hours.

The Master Gardener volunteer program is designed to fit the volunteer’s interests, time, and the needs of the community. A wide range of opportunities are available to the volunteers to work in consumer horticulture. Master Gardener volunteers assist with plant clinics, telephone questions, community teaching gardens, developing exhibits, and more! Others use their skills and efforts to pass along gardening information to retired individuals, children or youth.

If you are interested in becoming involved please call the N.C. Cooperative Extension in Lenoir County office at 527-2191 or visit us at 1791 Hwy 11/55. Applications are available upon request.