Master Gardener Program accepting applications

PHOTO PROVIDED Master Gardeners Kathy Dorman, left, and Lynda Cridge stand among some of the native plants that are thriving in the demonstration gardens they helped plant at the Clinton County Fairgrounds.

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

Clinton County has a dedicated group of volunteer Master Gardeners who are committed to making a difference, according to Cooperative Extension, and they are inviting other local gardeners to join them.

Becoming a Master Gardener can be an opportunity to learn more about gardening, provide a service to the community, and enjoy the company of others who have similar gardening interests.

During the past year, Clinton County’s Master Gardeners conducted a series of gardening workshops for the public, held their annual plant sale, staffed an Ask a Master Gardener table at the Farmers Market, maintained a garden “hotline” to answer questions, wrote newspaper and website articles, and made presentations to numerous local groups.

In addition, they maintained demonstration gardens at the Clinton County Fairgrounds, showcasing native shrubs and perennials carefully selected for their value to pollinators.

The newest class of Master Gardener trainees undertook a project at the fairgrounds to redesign and restore additional garden beds.

Diane Michura, a 2017 trainee who recently received her Master Gardener certification, described her experience: “It felt so good to learn how to do something well that I have enjoyed all my life.”

“The fellowship with other gardeners was an unexpected bonus,” she continued. “This is a wonderful group of people who share your passion for growing things — it’s been a delightful experience.”

The process of becoming a Master Gardener begins with participation in basic training classes that are held once each year.

Master Gardener Basic Training includes a series of weekly classes focused on topics like growing fruits and vegetables, identifying insects and plant diseases, pruning, native plants, annuals, perennials, and much more. The training 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.

Master Gardener Basic Training classes will be held Tuesdays from 9 to 11:45 a.m. from October through March at the new Clinton County Extension Office in the Garden Building, 232 E. Main St., Lock Haven.

Master Gardener Coordinator Debra Burrows said she hopes the daytime schedule and central location will make it easier for more local gardeners to participate. She said she is happy to talk with those who might be interested in becoming Master Gardeners and encourages them to call her at 570-726-0022 to learn more about the program.

The training begins Tuesday, Oct. 2.

Applications are being accepted through Sept. 25.

Additional information is available from the Clinton County Penn State Cooperative Extension office, phone 570-726-0022.