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Purdue Extension Master Gardener Program Seeking New Crop of Volunteers

Master Gardener logoIf you want to sharpen your gardening skills and are interested in sharing that knowledge with others, Purdue Extension has the ideal program for you.

Beginning in September, a Purdue Extension Master Gardener Basic Training course will be offered in Noble and Whitley Counties. The Purdue Extension Master Gardener (EMG) program is a volunteer training program. Through the class, participants learn about a wide variety of horticultural subjects, forming a solid foundation of knowledge with which to be effective as a volunteer. Once someone passes the class, participants provide leadership and service in educational gardening activities within their communities to fulfill the EMG mission, “Helping Others Grow.” The group also organizes and promotes opportunities for advanced horticultural education across various topics.

Materials and expenses for the series of classes cost $175.00 per participant; this covers the Extension Master Gardener manual, handouts, name badges, and other materials. The teaching resources become part of the Master Gardener's personal collection. Couples in the same household sharing one manual may attend for a rate of $270.00 ($135 each).

A completed application is required for all potential students by Tuesday, August 21. Applicants must present identification (driver’s license) once to Extension office staff. Provided a sufficient number of students enroll, successfully screened applicants will be given a link to complete enrollment and pay online by August 28.

However, due to the generosity of the Whitley County Master Gardeners Association, up to five scholarships for the single participant’s class fee will be awarded if you plan to perform the required 40 hours of volunteer service in Whitley County within two years following the conclusion of the class. To be considered, a scholarship application and application for the class must be submitted by Aug. 15.

Similarly, partial scholarships are available for Noble County residents. Call 260-636-2111 for information.

An orientation for the Basic Training course will be held Wednesday, September 4, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Subsequent classes will be held on Monday afternoons from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm from Sept. 9 through Dec. 9. Topics include soil and plant science, diagnosis of plant problems, pesticide safety, and culture of vegetable, flower, landscape, and fruit plants.

Classes for the first half of the bi-county training sessions will be held at the Noble County South Complex, just south of Albion. The second half of bi-county training sessions will be at the Whitley County Extension office in Columbia City. Purdue Extension Educators Ann Kline (Noble County) and John Woodmansee (Whitley County) will facilitate the class sessions and teach several topics. Past participants have indicated the course was a great experience, and the inclusion of hands-on learning helps solidify concepts taught in the class.

If you'd like an application to join this league of volunteers or if you have further questions, call Noble County Extension at 260-636-2111 or Whitley County Extension at 260-244-7615. Leave your name and address to receive detailed information about the class, including the application. You may also stop by the Purdue Extension office in Noble County, 109 North York Street, Albion, or the Whitley County office at 524 Branch Court in Columbia City.

Interested persons may also access information at the local Purdue Extension websites at: or Go to for a special website dedicated to becoming a Master Gardener in Whitley County, including links to application documents and additional information.

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