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Applications available for Master Gardener training

PHOTO PROVIDED Master Gardener apprentices are shown at the 2019 Clinton County Fair.

LOCK HAVEN — Penn State Extension in Clinton County is now accepting applications from those interested in training to become Master Gardeners.

Clinton County has an enthusiastic group of volunteer Master Gardeners who enjoy working together and would like to extend an invitation to other local gardeners to join them.

“What I love about the Master Gardener program is that there is something for everyone. You can have a large property or a studio apartment and there is a way to use what you have and get gardening!” Becoming a Master Gardener is an opportunity to learn more about gardening, develop friendships with others who have similar gardening interests, and provide gardening-related community service,” said Master Gardener Candy Gore.

It has been a busy year for Clinton County’s Master Gardeners, culminating with their participation in the International Master Gardener conference in June. In the past year they conducted gardening workshops for the public; held their annual plant sale; staffed the Ask a Master Gardener table at the Clinton County Fairgrounds Farmers’ Market; conducted a very popular Holiday Greens sale that included hands-on workshops; maintained a “hotline” to answer gardening questions; wrote newspaper and website articles; and made presentations to numerous local groups.

They also maintained demonstration gardens at the Clinton County Fairgrounds, showcasing native trees, shrubs, and perennials, took part in a pollinator nesting study, and participated in several other horticulture-related activities.

In 2019 they welcomed three new apprentices who are currently working to earn their certification as Penn State Extension Master Gardeners. After completing their basic training, apprentices work alongside experienced Master Gardeners and complete projects that help them apply their knowledge.

One of those projects focused on designing the Master Gardener display for the Clinton County Fair. Master Gardener Apprentice Charles Kincaid described his experience by saying “Participating in creating a Master Gardener display for the Clinton County Fair helped me to expand my understanding of the importance of native plants to the health of our native insects and environment. It was also a lot of fun.”

Master Gardener basic training includes a series of weekly classes focused on topics such as growing fruits and vegetables, identifying insects and plant diseases, pruning, native plants, annuals, perennials, and much more. It is designed to provide experienced home gardeners with information and skills necessary to share their experience and knowledge with others. In exchange for 40 hours of instruction, trainees must agree to volunteer 50 hours with Penn State Extension. After completing their training, Master Gardeners help Extension better serve the home gardening public by answering questions, speaking to groups, writing gardening articles, working with youth, gardening in the demonstration gardens, participating in the Penn State pollinator research program, and in many other ways.

In Clinton County, Master Gardener basic training usually consists of one three-hour class session per week from October through March. Classes are held at the County Extension Office at 232 E. Main St. in Lock Haven. Master Gardener Coordinator Debra Burrows talks with applicants to determine which days and times are most convenient for them to attend basic training and then schedules classes accordingly. Burrows said she looks forward to talking with those who might be interested in becoming Master Gardeners and encourages them to contact her at 570- 858-0192 to learn more about the program. Detailed information and applications are available at https://extension.psu.edu/programs/master-gardener/join . Applications will be accepted through Sept. 30.

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