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Join Master Gardeners, help your city

The Master Gardener volunteer program is a great way to gain horticultural expertise at a low cost, meet other avid gardeners, share gardening experiences, get connected to the community and belong to a well-respected educational organization.

It is an educational exchange program offered through county offices of the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Through this program, individuals are trained and certified in horticulture and related areas. In exchange for educational training, individuals are asked to volunteer their time to help county Extension offices with horticulture projects and benefit the local community.

Master Gardeners help extends the educational arm of the university to the public by providing horticultural information based on university research and recommendations.

The Master Gardeners training program provides more than 40 hours of classroom and hands-on instruction in horticulture and related areas. Class instructors include Extension specialists, agents and other horticulture professionals.

Class topics include botany, soils, vegetables, ornamentals, insects and diseases, and lawn care, among others. Curriculum material will be provided to support the classroom instruction.

In exchange for 40-plus hours of educational training, individuals are required to return 40 hours of volunteer service within one year of their training. After the first year, volunteers are required to return 20 hours of educational training to remain certified as Master Gardeners.

There is a one-time $105 fee for entry into the Master Gardener program. This fee covers the cost of supplies, and a 1-year membership in the state Master Gardeners association, and provides funding for the future development and growth of the statewide program.

The Adams County Master Gardeners are involved with so many community projects that there is no worry of completing the hour requirements. These are a few of our ongoing projects: Junior Master Gardeners, Historic Jefferson College trails, Grand Village of the Natchez Indians trails, grounds and Christmas projects at historic Melrose, Belk Senior Day, Butterfly Garden St. Catherine Creek Refuge, maintaining Crepe Myrtles at Natchez City Cemetery.

We are excited about new projects in the works such as the partnership with Habitat for Humanity on their new project HELP (Habitat Education Landscaping Partnership). There is also a new project for the beautifcation of downtown. We will team with the Community Alliance on helping maintain downtown plants. Look for us on Main Street on Valentine’s Day showing our love for our town by doing some cleaning of downtown planters. We also have two trips planned out of town this year.

The Adams County Master Gardeners has grown to more than 60 members. We are now one of the most active counties in the state. We are fortunate to have David Carter as our county director. This is the perfect organization to take what you love to do to another level. Learn, share and grow with us. Let’s show what flower power can do for our community!

Classes will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Home Extension Office beginning on Feb. 15 and continuing through March 24.

Call 601-445-8201 to secure your place.

Clarice Hudnall is an Adams County Master Gardener.

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