The Nebraska Master Gardener program extends the outreach of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) by providing volunteers with research-based horticulture education, which prepares them to share their knowledge with the citizens of the State.
The Nebraska Master Gardener Program
The Nebraska Master Gardener program is a horticulture related volunteer training program based in many counties throughout the state. It has been part of UNL Extension since 1976. Master Gardener volunteers are trained by UNL Extension faculty and staff. They contribute time as volunteers working through their local Extension office to provide horticulture-related information to their community. More specifically, they provide education about sustainable horticultural practices. Participants are required to complete 40 hours of training and 40 hours of volunteer service during the initial year of their involvement in the program. Master Gardener volunteers retain their certification through annual training and volunteering.
Nebraska Master Gardener Training
Master Gardener training sessions are held at county offices throughout the state. Classes begin in February or March, depending on the location. A minimum of 40 hours of educational training is provided. Most locations conduct training during daytime hours, but some offer evening classes.
Nebraska Master Gardener Program Topic Overview
Class topics may vary slightly, depending on location within the state, but all classes will include information on integrated pest management, weeds, insects, diseases, plant selection (turf, woody and herbaceous plants), landscape management, soils, fertility, and morphology. The content level is focused on the home gardener, but some participants are employed in the green industry.
Master Gardeners Make a Difference
Volunteer hours and contacts are completed through various activities including, but not limited to: planting and maintaining demonstration gardens, collecting data on research projects, helping with county and state fair activities, speaking to community groups, leading garden tours, collecting plant samples, answering phone questions, and teaching youth programs. As well as hundreds of educational contacts made through media outlets.
Registration is now open for the 2015 International Master Gardener Conference in our own backyard! The conference is September 22 to 25, 2015 at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It is co-sponsored by the University of Nebraska and Iowa State University. Come look at all we have to offer on the IMGC web site.