If you have an interest in gardening and would like to volunteer in your community, consider joining the Iowa Master Gardener program. Whether you are a long-term veteran of gardening or a novice, you are welcome to join.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Story and Boone counties will be offering a Master Gardener training course this fall. Classes will meet at Reiman Gardens in Ames for all sessions, with the exception of one Saturday session that will be on the ISU Campus.

The program provides selected volunteers training on many aspects of gardening. In exchange for training, Master Gardeners share their time and knowledge on approved projects within their local communities. Training consists of 40 hours of web based or face-to-face instruction at extension offices throughout Iowa. After training, participants must complete a one-year Master Gardener internship, consisting of 40 hours of volunteer service. Additional volunteer hours and ongoing training are required in subsequent years to maintain the Master Gardener status.

Since 1979, the Iowa Master Gardener program has trained over 9,000 people. Master Gardeners are highly visible volunteers in their counties. Master Gardeners may work at local gardens, schools, nursing homes or other community beautification or education projects. Master Gardeners answer questions on the radio, give presentations at gardening seminars and discuss plants at local plant sales. You might talk with Master Gardeners on the phone or via email or at booths at a local farmers’ market, county fairs, or home and garden shows. The Master Gardener program is unique, both for its community emphasis and because it directly utilizes the broad research-based resources of Iowa State University.

Sessions at Reiman Gardens:

Sept. 19, 24, 26, Oct. 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 22, 29 and Nov. 5 and 12, from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Saturday Sessions to be held on ISU Ames campus:

Oct. 12 or Oct. 19, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Cost per participant is $195. Registration deadline is Sept. 13 by 5 p.m. Late registrations will be accepted, unless class is full, with a $25 late fee. Call or email Alison Boelman at Story County Extension and Outreach for registration information at 515-382-6551 or email at aboelman@iastate.edu.

The fees for service will be used to off-set direct expenses and to support the Agriculture and Natural Resources Story County Extension & Outreach Program. Extension programs are available to all without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability.