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Master Gardener Graduates: People Helping People
Palm Beach County Master Gardeners are volunteers in action helping people to beautify and protect our environment. The newest class of Master Gardener graduates will be advising homeowners on how to design, plant and care for their landscape in an environmentally friendly way.
Each year, about 50 people graduate from the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service’s program. Certification requires spending hours in the classroom acquiring knowledge of botany, plant pathology, entomology, and integrated pest management. Participants are required to undertake a supervised internship, enabling them to share their knowledge in diverse settings.
During the first half of the year, Master Gardener volunteers working on behalf of the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service shared their knowledge with nearly 24,000 residents. They conducted Florida-friendly landscaping classes, and helped diagnose plant problems for phone and walk-in clientele visiting the Cooperative Extension Service and Mounts demonstration gardens.
The Master Gardeners’ ongoing commitment to community and local educational efforts makes a significant contribution to the outreach goals of the statewide University of Florida Cooperative Extension System. Since January, Master Gardeners have contributed more than 6,400 volunteer hours with an estimated industry value in excess of $119,000.
The volunteer program is now accepting applications for its fall class. Stop by the PBC Cooperative Extension Service at 531 North Military Trail and pick up an application, or you can download a Master Gardener volunteer program application by visiting the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service Master Gardener Website at: pbcgov.com/coextension/mastergardener. Interviews are scheduled for August 22 and August 29.
This volunteer training program is a 16-week commitment. Classes are held on consecutive Wednesdays, September 5 through December 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the PBC Cooperative Extension Service, 531 North Military Trail in West Palm Beach. University of Florida specialists, County Extension faculty, industry professionals and certified Master Gardeners conduct the volunteer training course.
Volunteers in training are required to spend four hours on call in the West Palm Beach hotline office and another eight hours volunteering during their training. Master Gardener graduates are also required to volunteer 75 hours the first year and 35 hours each year after that to remain certified. The program fee is $199 which includes a Master Gardener polo shirt, graduation certificate, and University of Florida Master Gardener identification badge and card.
The Master Gardener volunteer program is open to Palm Beach County residents who have an interest in gardening and a willingness to share their gardening knowledge and skills to help others in the community. Please call Master Gardener Coordinator Deborah Levulis at 561-233-1758 for more information on the Palm Beach County Master Gardener Volunteer Program.
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