Master Gardener program offered

IRON MOUNTAIN –The Michigan Extension Master Gardener Program is currently being offered in Iron Mountain Jan. 18 through April 26. Scheduled for Thursday evenings from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., it will be held at Bay West College. Registration is now open at: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/events/master_gardener_training_course_iron_mountain_dickinson_county. Registration is due by Jan. 11.

If you are not familiar with the Extension Master Gardener (EMG) program, it is a volunteer training certification program consists of two components. The first component required to gain certification is to complete the 45+ hours of classroom instruction. This runs for 14 weeks, and participants have to commit to attending the sessions.

Some exceptions can be made for extenuating circumstances. A variety of Michigan State University Extension Educators and Specialists, as well as some local professionals assist with the teaching of the sessions.

After completing the classroom portion, participants need to complete at least a 40-hour volunteer project which focuses on teaching others more about proper gardening techniques in a community setting.

Volunteer projects can and do focus around community beautification, youth gardening, food gardening, environmental sustainability, and extending MSU Extension’s resources. All have the main focus of EMGs teaching others about gardening while they work together to beautify an area, enjoy the peacefulness that a garden often brings, exposing youth to the joys of nature, growing food to share with others, or teaching about natural resources, such as composting, water conservation, or invasive species.

EMGs also get involved by helping with specific MSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Initiatives such as providing outreach for Smart Gardening or assisting with the Upper Peninsula Responder Team who helps staff the statewide MSU Extension toll-free lawn and garden hotline.

There are some partial scholarships available for those who would like to apply. Scholarship applications are due by Jan. 5. You must complete a scholarship application and registration in order to be considered for a scholarship. Applications are online at the same address above. Some payment will be required upon registration with full payment by the registration deadline.

Extension Master Gardeners continue to renew their certification annually by spending more hours learning more about horticultural topics and additional volunteering, and many of them make this a lifetime learning experience.

They continue to be a great asset not only to the mission of the Michigan Master Gardener Volunteer Program, but to the many communities they selflessly serve throughout Michigan.

If you would like to learn more about the Michigan Master Gardener Program, go to: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/program/info/master_gardener_volunteer_program

If you have any questions about the program being offered in Iron Mountain, please feel free to contact Rebecca Krans, Michigan State University Extension Consumer Horticulture Educator, and Upper Peninsula Extension Master Gardener Program Coordinator, at kransr@anr.msu.edu or 906-875-0606.

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