Master Gardener Volunteer Class Begins September 6

— Written By Taylor Williams
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Be a Master Gardener℠ Volunteer!

Have you ever given advice to other homeowners on landscaping questions? Do you enjoy the camaraderie of others who share your love of gardening? Do you believe that beautification and youth gardening projects are valuable to your community? Do you like to explore the complexities of the Sandhills environment, and successful gardening in the light of the sciences of botany, plant pathology, soil chemistry, entomology, and horticulture? Do you want to learn more about sustainable and organic gardening? Do you have some time available for volunteer work? If so, you should become a Master Gardener℠ volunteer!

Across North Carolina, 4,500 Master Gardener℠ volunteers annually provide 200,000 hours of community service and education projects, serving to about 4 million client contacts. Their volunteer effort is equivalent to over 100 full‑time employees.

Organized in Moore County since 1995, Master Gardener℠ volunteers last year contributed more than 8000 hours. This is the equivalent of 4 full-time employees that enhance Extension’s outreach to schools, 4H, and homeowners seeking lawn, landscape, and general gardening information. In addition to ongoing projects in sustainable landscape education, hotline duty, and school gardens. Master Gardener℠ volunteers made more than 700,000 client contacts in Moore County in 2017.

Master Gardener℠ volunteers assisted with the establishment of School Garden and Head Start programs in Moore County. They are actively involved in the burgeoning local food movement, serving as volunteers in the Sandhills Farm to Table cooperative and local farmers markets. Master Gardener℠ volunteers donate time to Sandhills Horticultural Gardens and the Weymouth Center, maintain drought-tolerant native plant demonstration gardens, make presentations to clubs, teach 4H classes, and serve on civic boards.

Master Gardener℠ volunteers receive a high level of training in all aspects of horticulture, including soil fertility, woody plants, fruit and vegetable gardening, home landscaping, lawn care, perennial and annual flowers, pruning, and other related disciplines. This program is an introduction to the full educational and research resources of the land‑grant university so that volunteers may better their homes and communities through horticulture.

We are currently accepting applications for the training class for new Master Gardener℠ volunteers, which will be held on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., from September 6 to November 8. The location will be at the Moore County Agriculture Center (707 Pinehurst Avenue, Carthage), though some classes will be held at the Rufus McLaughlin American Legion Post 177, 1650 W New York Ave, Southern Pines. We emphasize sustainable and organic methods of gardening tailored to our region. The training fee for class materials will be $85 per student. Students completing the program are required to donate 40 hours of volunteer time in horticulture education projects: We request that 20 hours of these hours be contributed toward youth community gardening programs, or to assist clients with their gardening questions on our weekday “helpline”. Those who wish to enroll in this class should fill out and return their application. Space is limited, and it is likely that not everyone will be accepted. There will be an interview process to evaluate the volunteer commitment of trainees. We recommend that you return applications early.

Call us at 947-3188 or stop by our office at 707 Pinehurst Avenue in Carthage to request an application.

Please consider this opportunity to expand your own knowledge, share with others, and fellowship with like‑minded people with a commitment to horticulture.

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.

Taylor Williams is Moore County Agricultural Extension Agent for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.