This year marks the 44th anniversary of the Illinois Master Gardener program.
With more than 3,000 members today, Illinois Master Gardeners have given more than 2,309,348 volunteer hours, a value of more than $46 million, to the state.
Today, Master Gardener volunteers – who come from farms, small towns, suburbs and cities – offer numerous educational opportunities related to gardening in nearly every county in the state.
The mission of the Illinois Master Gardener program is “Helping Others Learn to Grow.” After 60 hours of training, the volunteers participate in programs throughout their communities. Some of those opportunities may include speaking at garden clubs, civic groups or schools; answering calls or emails at garden help desks; establishing demonstration gardens that serve as educational tools; and educating residents on how to establish community gardens.
You don’t have to be a gardening expert to become a Master Gardener. All you need is an interest in gardening, some time to volunteer in the community, and a desire to share your knowledge with others. The program is more about connections; connecting people with other gardeners, with their community, and with reliable resources for information.
University of Illinois Extension in DeKalb County is now accepting applications to participate in the Online Master Gardener Training Program. This online, self-guided course for Illinois residents can be completed anytime of day or night. Set aside about four hours per week for videos, reading manual and completing quizzes and the training will be completed in 14 weeks.
The 2019 Master Gardener Online Training includes 13 modules – an introduction and 12 subject-areas. Module topics are Botany; Soils and Fertilizers; Plant Diseases; Entomology; Integrated Pest Management; Annuals and Perennials; Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines; Lawns; Small and Tree Fruits; Vegetables; Composting/Organic Gardening; and Living with Wildlife.
Each module consists of several videos and an online quiz; therefore, a strong internet connection is highly recommended.
Registration for the fall class will be open from Monday through Sept. 9 and the class will start Sept. 23.
Those interested should stop in the Extension Office at 1350 W. Prairie Drive in Sycamore or call 815-758-8194 for information or to receive an application form.
For information about the program, visit https://master-gardener.extension.illinois.edu/mgot.