Master Gardener Program accepting applications for 2018

ELKINS — West Virginia University Extension in Tucker and Randolph counties will now be accepting applications for the 2018 West Virginia Master Gardener Program. This program consists of a volunteer training course designed to provide experienced home gardeners with the information and skills necessary to share their experience and knowledge with others. Weekly classes will be held from 6-9 p.m. Sept. 18 to Nov. 20 at the Randolph County Extension Office in Elkins.

In exchange for 40 hours of indoor and outdoor instruction (30 hours in the classroom and 10 in home hours), candidates must agree to donate 40 hours of volunteer service to West Virginia University Extension. Volunteer activities currently carried out by Master Gardeners in Tucker and Randolph counties include upkeep of the flower garden surrounding the Iron Horse in Elkins, beautification design project for the Tucker County Courthouse, garden tours, plant sales, Randolph Farmers Market and many more.

There is a program fee to cover the cost of the training manual and other materials. Scholarships are available based on need. Applications are being accepted through Sept. 10. For more information, call the Tucker or Randolph County WVU Extension offices located in Parsons at 304-478-2949, ext. 209 or Elkins at 304-636-2455.

The West Virginia University Extension Master Gardener Program is a volunteer educational program designed to meet the horticultural needs of citizens of West Virginia. Its purpose is to train volunteers and utilize their expertise to teach people more about plants, their culture, their importance to the environment and to our quality of life. Master Gardener volunteers provide technical assistance to their county Extension office in order that consumer horticulture activities and programs can be more effectively and efficiently carried out.

Master Gardener trainees receive formal training from their county extension office covering a wide range of pertinent horticultural topics. To become a Master Gardener, the trainee must complete the training program, pass the required exams, volunteer a specified number of hours to extension and do a required presentation during training.

The volunteer commitment may be fulfilled in a number of different ways depending on the determined needs of the county residents. After the completion of the initial required volunteer time, volunteers are encouraged to continue to assist with horticultural program delivery as a West Virginia University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer.