Bexar County Master Gardener Class No. 54 taking applications

Volunteers in the Bexar County Master Gardener program of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service participate in community education and improvement by providing expert advice and hands-on assistance through a variety of horticulture-related activities, including garden fairs, community gardens and youth outreach. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo)

SAN ANTONIO – Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Bexar County is now taking applications for its next Master Gardener volunteer training class.

“Master Gardener volunteer training is conducted by AgriLife Extension, and this next training will be for Master Gardener Class No. 54, ” explained David Rodriguez, AgriLife Extension agent for horticulture, who helps administer the Bexar County Master Gardener organization.

Rodriguez said this class will differ from past classes in that each training will be conducted from 4-8 p.m. on Wednesdays from Aug. 24-Nov. 16 in Suite 208 of the AgriLife Extension office in Conroy Square, 3355 Cherry Ridge Drive, San Antonio.

“Previously, we had these classes earlier in the day, so we are hoping this new time frame will allow even more people to participate in the program and become Master Gardeners,” he said.

Individuals completing the training become certified Master Gardeners, assisting AgriLife Extension through community education in horticulture, said Margie Noonan, who is responsible for coordinating this next training. There are currently more than 400 certified Master Gardeners in Bexar County.

“We’re looking for individuals who have the time and willingness to volunteer to support our horticultural efforts,” Noonan said. “Acceptance is based on the person’s willingness to volunteer and the completeness of the application.”

The deadline for submitting an application for the new class will be Aug. 10. An application can be found online at http://bexar-tx.edu/HomeHort/index. Applications can be emailed to applications@bexarcountymastergardeners.com, faxed to 210-930-1753 or mailed to Master Gardener Training, 3355 Cherry Ridge Dr., Suite 208, San Antonio, Texas 78230-4818.

“Master Gardeners support the community through providing information and advice on gardening and landscaping, providing technical assistance, supporting the local green industry, and involvement in a variety of horticulture-related community service projects,” she said.

She said training will address topics ranging from plant growth and development to plant diseases, insects, soils and basic landscaping. Indoor garden design will be among the a new topics in the next class.

“Those completing classroom training and passing the final exam will be required to complete a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer service toward youth and/or adult education outreach,” Noonan said. “Volunteer hours may be applied to many Extension-approved projects which will be explained during the program.”

Noonan said the training is rigorous, but participants have fun and enjoy learning and hands-on projects such as landscape design and plant propagation.

“We impart a lot of knowledge toward training people to become Master Gardeners who can help develop a self-sustaining, civic horticultural effort here in the Bexar County,” she said.

The fee for the training is $210 to cover the cost of instruction and materials, and is payable upon acceptance into the program.

In 2010, Bexar County Master Gardeners volunteered more than 30,100 hours to various AgriLife Extension-related horticultural education and community service programs and activities.

For more information about the program, contact Noonan at 210-467-6575 or mnoonan@ag.tamu.edu.

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