Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Judy Walker
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

10 Reasons to consider becoming a Master Gardener

Master Gardener Intern


September 27, 2018

Over the course of the summer, we have talked about the many opportunities, programs and services offered by the Carlton County Master gardeners. It is an outstanding group, and they would like you to consider becoming a master gardener volunteer. Here are some reasons why:

10. You get to go back to school! The Master Gardener Core Course is 48+ hours of online and in-person education. Online training is self-paced from January to mid-May, and in person sessions are held at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

9. You will have the opportunity to gain knowledge in seven key areas:

- Horticulture skills

- Managing invasive species, conserving native species and restoring habitats

- Protecting native pollinators

- Conserving water and minimizing runoff

- Growing sustainable local food

- Creating climate resilient landscapes

- Assuring access to green space for all.

8. You will learn your course material from fantastic teachers. All instructors are Extension Educations or U of M faculty.

7. There are course quizzes, but they are open book and all multiple choice. And all the instructors want you to pass!

6. After completing the core course, you get to share your knowledge by volunteering alongside experienced local master gardeners on projects and at events that provide education to the public. Among other opportunities, these can include working at plant sales, answering questions at local farmers’ markets and fairs, engaging young people in hands-on learning and serving as a resource for local community gardeners. Completion of a total of 50 volunteer hours is required by the end of December 2019.

5. You will have access to an extensive library of research-based horticultural articles, other program and Extension resources, staff, websites, list-servs and events.

4. You will learn SO MUCH about growing in Carlton County, and have the resources to diagnose problems, improve your gardening skills and stay up to date on horticultural best practices.

3. The application process is straightforward, and in Carlton County, you have until October 31 to apply. Just contact the Extension Office at (218) 384-3511 for a new member packet, which includes an application and fee information. Ann Rust, Volunteer Coordinator & Horticulture Assistant for Carlton County Extension, is an excellent resource. Ann says, “A lot of people think that becoming a Master Gardener is a very difficult and involved process. I try to emphasize that it is not and that the only prerequisite is a love of gardening and that the core course will teach you the rest.”

2. You will meet a great group of experienced, talented gardeners willing to share their expertise and considerable talent. The master gardeners meet monthly and you are welcome to attend a few meetings to get to know the group and see whether it is a good fit.

1. You will be a life-long learner, and play an active role in promoting the U of M Extension Master Gardener program priorities: healthy plants, healthy people and a healthy planet.

In conclusion, here are some fitting words from Gladys Bergstedt, president of the Carlton County master gardener group: “I love gardening and being a master gardener puts me in a position where I can help foster that love in others. So I say to those that might be thinking of taking the course, go for it!”

Gardening is learning, learning, learning. That’s the fun of them. You’re always learning. - Helen Mirren


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