The official formal policy statement of the Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program reads in part: “The Ohio State University Extension (OSUE) Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) Program is an educational program designed to meet the consumer horticulture needs of Ohio citizens. Its purpose is to train volunteers and utilize their expertise to teach people more about plants and pests, their culture, and their importance to the environment and to our quality of life. MGVs provide technical assistance to their county Extension office in order that consumer horticulture activities and programs can be more effectively and efficiently delivered to Ohio’s gardening public.”
MGVs are more than this formal statement.
MGVs make a difference in their counties. State-wide, MGVs volunteered 184,187 hours valued at $4.2 million (based on $23.07 per hour) in 2015. Above all, MGVs are trained horticulture volunteers that love to share their knowledge, help people, are enthusiastic about plants, and have fun. The community is beautified by their efforts. They also develop life-long friendships.
Who can be an MGV? Any adult that loves to share their knowledge and have fun can be an MGV by completing the 50-hour training program. The training program provides a balanced, integrated practical course in plant science. The training program is usually offered every two years.
Core topics that are part of the training in every county are Orientation to Extension and the Master Gardener Volunteer Program; Basic Botany and Plant Physiology; Soils and Fertilizers; Basic Entomology; Basic Plant Pathology and Plant Disease Diagnostics; Integrated Pest Management and Pesticide Use and Safety; Home Lawn Care; Annuals, Perennials and Bulbs; Trees and Shrubs; Home Vegetable Production; Home Fruit Production; Houseplants; and Backyard Wildlife Management. Special topics like Phenology and Pollinators may be included depending on local needs.
Once a trainee has finished the classroom work and becomes an intern, they are ready to begin the 50 hours of volunteering it takes to be a certified MGV. The interns work on MGV projects alongside certified volunteers. Intern classes are encouraged to create their own projects as well.
Fayette County Extension will be providing one of these training classes beginning in January of 2017. The classes run through March. If you want to learn about horticulture, share your knowledge, make new friends, and have fun, consider becoming a part of the training class of 2017. There are still some spots available but the deadline to sign up is today.
If you would like to join the training class of 2017, contact Sara Creamer firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 740-335-1150 for the details. Don’t wait, call today.