U of I Extension planning to offer online training for Master Gardener program
For nearly five decades, Illinois Master Gardeners have measured success by gardens planted, insects identified, produce harvested and the millions of hours volunteers have logged by helping others learn to grow.
From farms and small towns to suburbs and the inner city, University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners around the state volunteer by providing gardening education in their communities.
An online Master Gardener training program is scheduled to start in June.
“Our online training is a great opportunity for folks that wouldn’t normally be able to take our face-to-face training,” said state Master Gardener specialist Candice Hart. “It allows more flexibility in completing training.”
The online, self-guided course for Illinois residents can be taken from the comfort of home at your own pace and includes videos, reading materials, and quizzes.
“With our Extension offices closed for the time being, we’re sending interested participants through the non-volunteer option of the course,” says Hart.
Becoming an Extension Master Gardener volunteer involves filling out an application and additional paperwork, as well as an interview with local county Extension staff before being approved as a potential volunteer, which are more difficult to complete at this time.
With the non-volunteer option, participants can still complete the online training and then reach out to their local Extension office upon completion of the course to see about applying to become a Master Gardener volunteer.
The course is aimed at exposing participants to in-depth horticulture content modules including growing vegetables, fruits, trees and shrubs, landscaping, organic gardening and much more.
For more information about the course, visit master-gardener.extension.illinois.edu/mgot.
Registration is open until May 15 and the class will be available starting June 15. The course costs $300.
To sign up, visit extension.illinois.edu/go/mgonlinetraining. Enter the approval code “#NvGARDEN” and complete the registration.
The training is designed to be viewed on a desktop, laptop or tablet, and a strong internet connection is highly recommended.
“Helping Others Learn to Grow” is the mission of the Illinois Master Gardener program.
After receiving training, volunteers participate in education programs in their communities.
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 citizens on how to establish community gardens.
This year marks the 48th anniversary of the Illinois Master Gardener program.
With more than 2,600 volunteers today, Illinois Master Gardeners have given more than 2,309,348 volunteer hours, a value of over $46 million, to the state.