Solar Fun


Story County ISU Extension & Outreach will be hosting a free Solar Fun event June 19, from 2:30–4 p.m. in the parking lot of Central Elementary in Nevada. Activities will include making sun beads to recognize sun safety. Participants can also make a solar oven and test it by making s’mores! The ISU solar PrISUm car will also be on site for participants to view and visit with the ISU creators of the car.


One hundred twenty Iowa State University students created the world’s first Solar Utility Vehicle. Named “Penumbra,” this solar-assisted electric vehicle has been made to change the paradigm of transportation. During the month of June, members from PrISUm (the ISU student organization that manufactured the car) are traveling to various counties in the state of Iowa to showcase the vehicle.


The event is free and open to the public; however, youth groups are encouraged to RSVP by June 13 to help staff prepare enough supplies. Reply to Michelle Adams at 515-382-6551 or mladams@iastate.edu.


Registration open for fall Master Gardener training


The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Master Gardener program will hold its core training sessions this fall for individuals interested in becoming Master Gardener volunteers.


The Master Gardener program is looking for people who are passionate about volunteering and gardening. No previous garden knowledge is required. The program equips participants to grow in knowledge about gardening best practices. After the training, Master Gardeners volunteer in their community, making significant contributions such as giving produce to food pantries and demonstrating garden best practices at Iowa’s county fairgrounds.


“Master Gardeners provide volunteer service across Iowa,” said Susan DeBlieck, ISU Extension and Outreach Master Gardener assistant coordinator. “They are excellent community resources who provide support at school gardens, community gardens, and farmers markets.”


New for 2018 is an expansion of the flipped classroom model that was offered at six locations last year. Lectures that were previously given during classroom sessions are now available to be watched at home, freeing up class time for hands-on activities and tours of local gardens.


“From our experience offering a flipped classroom last year, trainees love being able to watch the course lectures at their own pace,” said Margaret Murphy, horticulture educator and regional food coordinator for ISU Extension and Outreach. “Additionally, receiving hands-on experiences during class increased the level of learning and gave trainees an opportunity to work together and share ideas and experiences.”


Training sessions will be combined for Boone and Story County Master Gardener Trainees and are scheduled for August 25, September 8, September 20, September 22, October 6, October 20, November 3 and November 17. Sessions will include activities and tours with local experts from Reiman Gardens, Center Grove Orchard, Jack Trice Stadium, Iowa Arboretum, Ledges State Park, and Iowa State University.


For more information about Master Garden training, contact the ISU Extension and Outreach Boone County office at 515-432-3880 or the Story County office at 515-382-6551.


Those interested in the course can apply at https://mastergardenerhours.hort.iastate.edu/application-form.php. The deadline for registration is August 3. Training fees are $195.


After completing the course, Master Gardener trainees work as volunteers within the community, volunteering 20 hours per year and building their gardening know-how by participating in ten hours of continuing education.


Individuals not interested in becoming a Master Gardener volunteer can still receive training. The ProHort program allows individuals to gain knowledge while earning a certificate of completion. Cost for the ProHort program is $550 and does not include any volunteer requirements.