So you all know how much I like talking about my garden, right? Well earlier this summer I decided to try taking it to another level. Back in June I applied to become a Master Gardener for Cuyahoga County. It was an item on my personal “bucket list” and I decided, why wait? I went through the application process, an interview, reference checks, a criminal background check and then in early August I received a formal letter in the mail – I had been accepted into the class of 2014!
I am now in the midst of completing an 11-week training course. Basically it’s like night school. It’s pretty hardcore and my training binder is about 3-inches thick. I’m excited though. I’m looking forward to learning a lot more about gardening, to sharing my new found knowledge with others through volunteer work.
There are 36 people in my class so we have a full house. What is a Master Gardener? Basically a trained volunteer. After I complete the coursework I will need to volunteer 50 hours in the next year before “graduation” next fall. Beyond that I will take part in ongoing training and volunteer work to maintain my certification.
Master Gardeners volunteer in many different ways, from working on community gardens, to answering questions in person at events and via phone, to helping children, seniors and developmentally disabled adults learn about gardening. I first learned about Master Gardeners in college. As an newspaper reporting intern in Fostoria, Ohio I remember taking on a few stories where I needed to talk to a plant expert. I called the Ohio State University Extension office near there to talk to an expert – a Master Gardener!
I’m happy to be a part of this program and look forward to sharing a little bit more about my journey and what I learn. I have to be honest though, the time commitment over the next two months is pretty intense, so I may be sharing more once I’m actually done with training!