Those who love to garden and would like to learn more and share their knowledge with others might consider becoming a Master Gardener through University of Illinois Extension.
Becoming a master gardener involves education and a commitment to service.

Those who love to garden and would like to learn more and share their knowledge with others might consider becoming a Master Gardener through University of Illinois Extension.

Becoming a master gardener involves education and a commitment to service.

“We are really excited about expanding the program in Henry and Stark counties and hope we get a solid number of interested adults enrolled so we can make an even bigger impact on horticulture education and projects for the community,” said Martha Smith, U of I Horticulture Educator serving Henry/Stark, Mercer and Rock Island counties.

The process begins with an individual submitting an application. They then go through a background screening and, if all goes well, are accepted into training.

This year’s training for Henry, Stark, Mercer and Rock Island county residents will take place on Tuesdays, Jan. 24 through April 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Henry/Stark Extension office in Galva, 358 Front St.

Sessions will be hosted by Extension staff and include hands-on activities. The classes are taught by University of Illinois Extension educators via live webinar and cover a wide array of horticulture topics, including: Botany, Insects, Trees, Shrubs and Vines, Soils, Annuals and Perennials, Lawns, Diseases and Diagnosis, Wildlife, Organic Gardening and Composting, Vegetables, Fruits and Integrated Pest Management.

Master Gardener volunteers work on behalf of and under the supervision of University of Illinois Extension. The volunteer work is conducted in the local Extension unit and throughout the community on various projects involving parks, schools, gardening, or other city agencies.

Certified Master Gardeners are those who have completed their training and internship.

To remain active, Master Gardeners must complete 30 hours of volunteer service and 10 hours of educational training yearly.

The cost for the 11 weeks of training is $225 and includes a comprehensive horticulture textbook. You will receive a $50 refund once your internship is completed for a $175 cost to become initially certified.

To begin the application process, visit web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs and look for Master Gardener Training, Galva, IL under Program Registrations.

For more information, call Tracy Jo Mulliken, Master Gardener Coordinator, at (309) 756-9978.