If you have an interest in plants and gardening and would enjoy sharing that interest with others, consider becoming a University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener volunteer. Applications are being accepted for the Polk County Extension Master Gardener Program now through Oct. 1.

    Master gardeners take an active interest in gardening, are willing to learn, and enjoy helping others. The University of Minnesota Extension provides this training in exchange for volunteer hours. Master gardeners work with local County Extension Offices to provide valued science-based horticultural information to their communities.

    There will be Master Gardener Core Course training offered during the winter of 2020. Although participants may attend the training at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, they also have the opportunity to complete the entire course online. Instructors are University of Minnesota Extension educators and faculty. The course covers best management practices of lawn care; trees and shrubs; pest and weed control; soil science; botany; plant nutrition; fruits and vegetables; flowers; living with wildlife; and other horticulture subjects.      

     Following the course, new Master Gardeners will first serve as interns. They will complete 50 hours of volunteer service in the first year, working with local Master Gardener volunteers on a variety of projects that educate the public about gardening and horticulture.

    You might answer plant questions by phone or at a Plant Pest Clinic, write a newspaper column, or make a presentation to a community group.

    After completing the internship, you become a certified University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener. To remain certified, Master Gardeners must contribute at least 25 hours of volunteer service annually.

    For information about the Extension Master Gardener program, as well as the online application, go to extension.umn.edu/master-gardener. For questions and additional information, please contact Lisa Loegering at the University of Minnesota Extension Crookston Regional Office at 218-281-8684.