Registration now open for Alabama Extension’s Master Gardener classes | News

Do you love plants? Do you enjoy learning? Then you are a great candidate for the Master Gardener Intern Training Program! You do not have to be a garden expert, just come with a desire to learn and grow.

The Alabama Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program is an educational volunteer-recruitment program offered through the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Volunteers work with Alabama Extension to provide their communities reliable, relevant and reachable gardening information and education opportunities. Classes in the training program include home lawns, trees, shrubs, annual and perennial flowers and vegetable gardening. Extension specialists, agents, local specialists, and certified Master Gardeners will teach the courses.

The fifteen-week Master Gardener training course is available on-line via Zoom video-conferencing, with hands-on afternoon sessions in Limestone County available but not required. You do not have to watch the sessions live – using CANVAS you can watch the sessions when it is convenient for you – but you do need to watch them and take the quizzes to graduate.

Participants in the Master Gardener Course are required to report 50 hours of volunteer service within a year of completing the course in order to become certified. After which, certified Master Gardeners need to complete 25 hours of volunteer service to continue their certification.

In Lawrence County there are several ongoing projects that need assistance, including projects through Lawrence County Master Gardener Association. However, many interns have volunteered in the greenhouses maintained by the Morgan County Master Gardener Association also.

The starting date to register for the fall training series is June 13. The fall intern training will start on Aug. 11 and run through Nov. 17. Each class day is broken into morning sessions, from 9:30 am to 11:30 am, and afternoon sessions, from 1 pm to 2:30 pm

Registration before July 1 is $150. Registration fees will cost $200 after the July 1 deadline. This fee includes a Master Gardener book and Master Gardener t-shirt. Upon graduation, participants in the program will receive certification and a badge, and graduates will be offered the opportunity to join an area Master Gardener Association. The Lawrence County Master Gardener Association is looking forward to having new members and members are ready to be mentors. Several recent Master Gardener interns have also joined the Morgan County Association. The Master Gardener program allows for membership in multiple associations.

A Garden-U option, which does not require the completion of community service hours, is also offered for participants. The option does not certify participants as a Master Gardener but provides access to association materials.

For participants without internet access or connectivity issues, the Lawrence County Extension Office provides technology allowing students to attend the online classes. Online registration and payment options are available by the following the link: http://www.aces.edu/go/mastergardener.

For more information, contact Regional Extension Home Grounds Agent Tim Crow at 256-773-2549, or contact County Extension Coordinator Donna Shanklin at 256-974-2464.

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