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The Avid Gardner: Master gardener classes scheduled

by on July 06, 2018 9:20 AM

If connecting with nature while reaching out to help others sounds fulfilling to you, consider becoming a Penn State Extension master gardener for Centre County.

According to its coordinator, Molly Sturniolo, “This program consists of a volunteer training course designed to provide experienced home gardeners with information and skills necessary to share their experience and knowledge with others.”

Applications are being accepted now for this year’s weekly classes.

These sessions, to be held from Tuesday, Aug. 21, to Tuesday, Dec. 4, will familiarize those attending with the latest cutting-edge research on a wide variety of agriculture-related topics. These read like a “how to” for the home gardener:  growing and caring for all sorts of plants, soil and its health, beneficial insects and pests and disease control and wildlife management, just to name a few. There are 40 hours of instruction in all. And, an added benefit is a practical tutorial in ways in which to communicate this knowledge with the public.

A question that often arises is what happens once a person has completed the course. The simple answer is that each person then gives back to the community by having the opportunity to share his or her horticultural knowledge. The first year’s commitment is 50 hours of service with Penn State Cooperative Extension. A number of master gardeners have been with the group for many years.

The ways in which master gardeners participate include such activities as being a part of a group teaching at Tudek Park or its many pollinator garden sites, presenting lessons at the Bellefonte Children’s Garden, showcasing weekly gardening programs to seniors at Centre Crest,  assisting with the annual Master Gardener Plant Sale, doing general outreach such as manning the MG hotline, writing research-based online materials or presenting poison prevention information at an event like Ag Progress Days.

There is truly something for everyone, and many choose to be involved in numerous projects, all of which emphasize education.

There is a program fee of $300. It covers the cost of materials and expenses for the classes. Applications are being accepted through Monday, July 9. Volunteer candidates are invited to an information session to be held Tuesday, July 10, and Tuesday, July 24.
More general information about the program is available at For information specifically about this year’s training, contact Sturniolo at (814) 355-4897 or [email protected].

If you would like to learn more about all things gardening, interact with others who share your passion, and, most importantly, be a part of sharing this horticulture knowledge with others in a meaningful way, this could well be a group for you.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.
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