Become a Master Gardener

By Faye Mahaffey – 

Do you like to garden? Are you interested in helping others? Do you like to volunteer to help others? Would you like to learn more about gardening? If you answered yes to some or all of these questions, you may want to look into the OSUE Master Gardener Volunteer Program.
This program provides intensive training in horticulture to interested Ohio residents who then volunteer their time assisting with educational programs and activities for Ohio residents through their local Ohio State University Extension county office. Volunteers are not required to have gardening skills or knowledge; a passion for learning about gardening and sharing this knowledge with others is a must! Working with county OSUE personnel, Master Gardener Volunteers provide such educational services to their communities such as: answering gardening questions from the public; conducting plant clinics; gardening activities with children, senior citizens, or disabled persons; beautifying the community; developing community or demonstration gardens; and other horticultural activities.
The Master Gardener Volunteer program began in Ohio in the 1970’s. Today, more than 3,500 Master Gardeners volunteer their time and services in over 60 Ohio counties. Last year Master Gardeners spent over 150,000 hours leading projects, giving horticultural presentations and raising gardening awareness. Their volunteer efforts resulted in $3.3 million worth of community service contributions throughout Ohio.
You could qualify to be an Ohio Master Gardener Volunteer if: 1) You want to learn more about plants and gardening; 2) You are eager to participate in a practical and intensive training program; 3) You enjoy sharing your knowledge with others; and 4) You have the time to attend training and serve your community as a volunteer educator.
We aren’t able to offer a training class every year, but if you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer you can contact your local OSUE office and ask to be added to a list that will be contacted when we are scheduling training classes in the future.
In Brown County, Master Gardener Volunteers are required to accumulate 20 volunteer hours and 10 continuing education hours to retain their Active status. In the year 2017 we had 17 Active Master Gardener Volunteers who served 1,373.5 volunteer hours and attended 420 hours of continuing education. When we volunteer we also track our mileage which totaled 12,642 miles this year! We are excited about the year 2018 and hope to continue to educate others with timely research-based gardening information.
What are the benefits of becoming an OSUE Master Gardener Volunteer?  The list for me, personally, would have to include: meeting new gardening friends, access to research-based gardening information, and the opportunity to spread the joy of gardening in my community!
Don’t forget about our gardening seminar on Thursday, January 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the Mt. Orab campus of Southern State Community College. Susan Barber will talk about Growing Fair Exhibits in Room 107. All seminars are free and open to the public.
I am going to end with a quiz from “Grow a Good Life”.
(One point for each)
Never Have I Ever – Talked to my plants, Snacked on string beans in the garden, Got caught under a sprinkler, Been startled by a snake, Accidentally weeded a seedling, Smelled the soil, Lost time when visiting the garden, Used my shirt to gather a harvest, Touched a hornworm, Splashed myself in the face with a garden hose, Chased a butterfly, Lost my gardening gloves, Walked in the garden barefoot, or Stepped on a rake.
What was your score? Does it count that I touched the hornworm with my garden gloves on? And if you think I am going to admit publicly that I stepped on a rake….you are mistaken!