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Announcing the 2005 Galveston County Master Gardener Training

by Dr. William M. Johnson, Galveston County Extension Agent - Horticulture
January 13, 2005

Gardening: Christmas SnowGardeners by nature are great people and the Galveston County Master
Gardener volunteers exemplify the very best in unselfishly providing
volunteer service that benefits the residents of Galveston County. Shown are Master Gardeners at the "Ask a Master Gardener" table to address residents' questions during annual plant sales such as the upcoming Fruit Tree Sale & Seminar on Saturday, February 7.

Photo Credit: Dr. William M. Johnson


SATURDAY, JANUARY 15: Successful Spring Vegetable Gardening. 9:00-11:30 a.m. at the Galveston County Extension Office. Master Luke Stripling is a longtime home gardener and will present a slide presentation proven techniques for a productive spring vegetable garden. No fee but reservation required (281-534-3413, Ext. 6 or GALV3@wt.net).

Attention all gardeners! Do you like to share with young people and adults what you know about plants and gardening? Do you want to learn more about the culture and maintenance of many types of plants? Would you like to participate in a practical and intensive horticulture training program? Do you have time to attend a 7-week training and complete at least 50 hours of volunteer service within 9 months?

If you answered yes to these questions, the Galveston County Master Gardener Program is for you. The Galveston County Extension Office is seeking gardeners who would like to utilize their gardening knowledge and experience to teach others the joys of gardening in return for some of the best training in horticulture available.

The Galveston County Master Gardener Program is sponsored by Texas Cooperative Extension, a part of Texas A&M University. It is a volunteer program where trained volunteers provide research-based home gardening information to the residents of Galveston County through various programs and activities such as workshops, plant clinics, speakers' bureau, school projects, garden publications, research and demonstration gardens and answering individual requests for gardening information.

Applicants selected to be Master Gardener trainees will receive training in home horticulture from several Texas A&M Extension faculty including Dr. Larry Barnes, Dr. Sam Feagley, Dr. Mary L. Ketchersid, Dr. Garland McIlveen, Dr. Don Renchie, Dr. Bill Welch and Dr. Doug Welsh. In addition, I and several local experts in the various areas of horticulture will provide presentations.

The program offers 62 hours of instruction in the areas of vegetables, fruits, lawn grasses, shrubs, flowers and trees. In addition to identification and management of insect pests, diseases and weeds, instruction is also provided on soil fertility, composting, soils and plant nutrition, propagation, pesticide use, pruning and much, much more!

Gardeners by nature are great people and our Galveston County Master Gardener volunteers exemplify the very best in unselfishly providing volunteer service that benefits the general public. The Galveston County Master Gardener program was started in 1982 and we are celebrating our 24th anniversary this year. We are the second oldest county Master Gardener program in the State of Texas.

There are many opportunities to use your talents and serve the community through the Master Gardener program. While a primary activity of Master Gardeners has been to address gardening questions at the County Extension Office, our Master Gardener program is very diversified in its outreach, reflecting the skills, interests and individuality of the volunteers.

Many Master Gardeners provide educational programs on horticulture for our community residents. During 2004, Master Gardeners provided 17 educational programs as part of our Gulf Coast Gardening . . . 2004 Saturday Seminars Series to meet the growing number of requests for additional educational programs. Master Gardeners also provided 61 educational programs for area civic organizations including garden clubs, garden shows, etc.

Master Gardeners assist with updating our website which contains a treasure of information on horticulture. From the start, it was a big success with the public, as more area residents utilize the Internet and seek information for their various gardening problems. Now, many other people from all over the nation visit our website. Over the 2004 calendar year, our website received over a half-million (546,472 to be exact) "visits" or "hits." If you have not yet visited our website, use the website address or URL provided at the end of this column to peruse the wide variety of information useful for this area.

Several Master Gardeners help reduce the solid waste problem by teaching people how to compost. Master Gardeners teach children's gardening classes that emphasize environmental stewardship and human nutrition. Master Gardeners also constructed the Horticulture Display Gardens located at the County Extension Office to serve as a resource for area residents and it is open to the public daily from sunrise to sunset. We have developed a well-recognized horticulture therapy training program. The possibilities are unlimited.

Participants become Certified Texas Master Gardeners after they have completed the training and internship by fulfilling their volunteer commitment. Once you have become certified, you are eligible to attend other training programs and workshops. You will also qualify to join the Galveston County Master Gardener Association. Along with the camaraderie, you will share their knowledge and expertise. A bimonthly newsletter, monthly membership meetings, gardening seminars and tours are among the many activities sponsored by this group.

As you can see, the Master Gardener program is more than a horticulture class or a social club. It is a vibrant volunteer program that enables participants to serve their communities through horticultural education. It also promotes personal growth. Not only do Master Gardeners increase their knowledge of horticulture, but they can also enhance their communication, management, and leadership skills which can be used in all aspects of their lives.

The 2005 Galveston County Master Gardener Training Course starts on Monday, February 21, and is conducted each Tuesday and Thursday from 1-5 p.m. thereafter through April 5. The classes are held at the Galveston County Extension Office located at 5115 Highway 3 in Dickinson.

There is a registration fee of $100 plus a $50 "earnest money" fee which will be refunded upon completion of the volunteer service hour commitment. The registration fee includes a copy of the "Texas Master Gardener Handbook", an engraved name badge, refreshments and also helps to cover travel expenses of program speakers.

To obtain more information or a program information and application packet, contact the Galveston County Extension Office at 281-534-3413, ext. 6. You may also contact us by e-mail (GALV3@wt.net) or visit the office.

Dr. Johnson is a horticulturist with the Galveston County
Extension Office of Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University. Visit his web site at http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/index.htm

Gardening: Scale insects and pampas grass - July 17, 2004 article

Gardening: Bananas - August 1, 2004 article

Gardening: August Gardening Calendar - August 16, 2004 article

Gardening: Trio Of Extension Programs Includes Pear Tasting, Master Naturalist Class & Rose Seminar - August 20, 2004 article

Gardening: Prepare Now For Fall Gardens - August 26, 2004 article

Gardening: Septemberís Garden Calendar Includes Fall Pecan Field Day - September 2, 2004 article

Gardening: Ornamental Grasses - September 8, 2004 article

Gardening: Don't Let Landscape Become A High-Maintenance Nightmare - September 22, 2004 article

Gardening: Oct. 10 Plant Sale & Seminar To Feature Butterfly Gardening - Butterflies Bring Color, Motion to Garden - October 2, 2004 article

Gardening: Plant It And They Will Come: Getting the Butterflies of Galveston County to Grace Your Yard - October 2, 2004 article

Gardening: Rose Propagation & Seasonal Decorating Workshops To Be Held - October 13, 2004 article

Gardening: Extension Office To Sponsor Open House On October 29, Seasonal Decorations and Onion and Garlic Workshops - October 20, 2004 article

Gardening: Extension Office To Sponsor Open House On October 29 and County Pecan Show - October 27, 2004 article

Gardening: November Is Pansy Time - November 6, 2004 article

Gardening: County Pecan Growers Display Their Successes - November 11, 2004 article

Gardening: Gardeners' Questions On Fall Crops - November 17, 2004 article

Gardening: Gardenersí Q&As For November - November 28, 2004 article

Gardening: Gardeners' December Checklist Includes Citrus Show On Dec. 9 - December 3, 2004 article

Gardening: Citrus Show A Huge Success With 185 Entries - December 19, 2004 article

Gardening: Trees and Shrubs - December 23, 2004 article

Gardening: Cold Weather Impact - January 4, 2005 article

Gardening: Gardeners' Checklist For January Includes Several Educational Programs - January 7, 2005 article

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