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Sign up for Master Gardener orientation in Greene County

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — One of the most active and dynamic Master Gardener chapters in Missour has opened the signup period for the evening sessions beginning Feb. 15 at the Springfield Botanical Center in connection with the University of Missouri Extension’s Master Gardener program. The chapter is observing its 30th year.

Master Gardeners learn from experience as well as in the classroom. A loaned hoop house provided instruction on how to grow produce under cover.

Master Gardeners learn from experience as well as in the classroom. A loaned hoop house provided instruction on how to grow produce under cover.

Individuals interested in becoming a Master Gardener in Greene County must attend one of MU Extension’s mandatory orientation sessions. The 2015 orientation is available one of two days, from 6-8 p.m., on Wednesday, Jan. 28 or Thursday, Jan. 29 in the large meeting room at the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center located at 2400 S. Scenic Springfield.

“Attendance of an orientation session is a mandatory first step of becoming a Master Gardener. You will learn important details about our training classes and volunteer commitments. You will also get a chance to visit with existing Master Gardener members,” says Kelly McGowan, horticulture educator for MU Extension.

The Master Gardener class sessions will be held Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., starting Feb. 17 and running through April 2. The classes will be held at the Botanical Center, 2400 South Scenic, Springfield.

A total of 12 three-hour sessions taught by trained professionals will cover horticulture principles and practices. Ornamentals, turf, vegetables, fruit crops and landscape design are some of the subjects covered through this course.

Master Gardeners assist in horticulture education in the community. Thirty volunteer hours from participants are required the first year after training. Following that, 20 volunteer service hours are required each year to remain an active Master Gardener.

Master Gardens and quansit hut

Master Gardeners prepare soil for the Demonstration Garden in early spring. Graduate “interns” have the opportunity to volunteer in the garden to hone their skills.

Enrollment for the class is limited and there is a fee of $150 (or $255 for a couple) to cover the costs of the program and materials.

To sign up for the program, e-mail your name, email, phone number, and which orientation session you plan to attend to mcgowank@missouri.edu. Persons interested in participating in the Master Gardener program may also contact the University of Missouri Extension Center in Springfield at (417) 881-8909 for more information or to register for an orientation session.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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