Last updated: May 15. 2014 10:27AM - 619 Views
Brian Maddy County extension agent

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It hard to believe that the Master Gardener Extension Volunteer program has been up and running for 35 years.

Troup County’s program has been going since 1986, nearly 28 years. This past year, our master gardeners have completed over 1,800 volunteer hours for our community.

Projects range from community gardens to the junior master garden program to speaking at garden clubs to answering horticulture questions at the extension office. Each year the master gardeners host a well-attended plant sale/plant swap at the Ag Center on Vulcan Materials Road across from the sheriff’s office.

The overall purpose of the master gardener program is to help the University of Georgia Extension staff transfer research-based information about gardening and related subjects to the public by training home gardeners. The five target areas of educational programing and demonstrations are: environmental stewardship, home and food production, gardening with youth, value of landscapes and health benefits of gardening.

In celebration of the anniversary of the master gardeners the Troup County Extension office is offering the first training since 2011 for prospective master gardeners. If you live in Troup County and the surrounding counties you are welcome to fill out an application packet.

The orientation class will begin Aug. 5 and classes will be completed by Oct. 16. They will be held in the afternoon on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Ag Center. Some classes may extend a little longer depending on the subject matter.

Sheri Dorn, the state director for the master gardener extension volunteer program (MGEV), will be our guest speaker on Aug. 5.

Each class will be hosted by an expert in that particular topic. We will have speakers from the University of Georgia and Auburn University and several local horticulturists who will lend their expertise. Field trips are being planned for the program as well.

The cost of the program is $150 per student for books, badges and supplies. The application packet contains forms for the UGA background check.

The Master Gardener Extension Volunteer program is part of the University of Georgia and the background check is required for liability purposes. The deadline for completing the application is June 15.

After completing the course requirements each master gardener volunteers for at least 50 hours the first year and 25 hours each year thereafter to maintain certification. Helping out our Troup County community has been a very rewarding experience for many master gardeners.

You can pick up an application at the extension office at 114 Church St. in LaGrange Monday through Friday. You can email a request to uge2285@uga.edu. If you have any questions, please call the office at 706-883-1675. The deadline for applying is June 15. Come and join our master gardening program.

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