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Meeting set for potential garderners

February 15, 2005

CLEAR SPRING - What better way to get in the mood for spring then to attend an informational meeting on what it takes to become a master gardener Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. at the L.P. Snyder Memorial Library?

Sponsored by the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service, the meeting will be conducted by Lori Young, horticulture educator. To register, call 301-842-2730.

A master gardener is a volunteer educator who extends the services, programs and expertise of extension service to the general public. A master gardener will educate citizens about effective and sustainable horticultural practices and landscape problem-solving. This volunteer job is supervised and supported by Maryland Cooperative Extension in Washington County.

Anyone interested may fill out a volunteer application. The application will be screened, an interview scheduled and acceptance into the program follows. The trainee next completes the 40- to 50-hour training program by attending 75 percent of the classes, receive the volunteer policy training, and score 75 percent or better on the open book final exam, at which point the trainee becomes an intern.

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To become a certified master gardener, the intern must complete 40 hours of volunteer service to the program within one year. To remain an active master gardener, the volunteer must provide 20 hours of service to the program each year and complete 10 hours of continuing education each year.

You don't have to be an expert in horticulture, but you must have a love for horticulture. There are many ways to gain service hours, such as plant clinics, local workshops, helping to set up community gardens and many others.

Master gardeners have the opportunity to gain knowledge in all aspects of environmental horticulture, learn new skills and meet and work with others with similar interests.

Young can be reached weekdays by telephone at 301-791-1604, ext. 14, or by e-mail at lyoung2@umd.edu

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