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franklin county times

From the Extension: Become a Master Gardener 

FRANKLIN LIVING JULY-AUGUST 2023

What is the Alabama Master Gardener program?

The Master Gardener program is a partnership among the land grant universities of this state – Alabama A&M University and Auburn University – Alabama Extension agents and motivated volunteers interested in educating their communities. 

The concept of the Master Gardener volunteer program began in 1972 in King County, Washington. Extension Agent David Gibby was being overwhelmed with requests for gardening information. Partially in self-defense, he developed the idea of providing training for avid gardeners who would then share the acquired knowledge with others through community service.

Mary Lou McNabb, a Cornell Extension Master Gardener, brought the Master Gardener concept to Alabama in 1981. She asked Madison County Extension Agent Gary Murray if he would help get a Master Gardener program started in Alabama. These two individuals, along with Dr. Caula Beyl and Dr. Govid Sharma of Alabama A&M University, organized the first Alabama Master Gardener training program in Huntsville.  Mary Lou McNabb is still active with MGNA today! 

Who are Alabama Master Gardener Volunteers?

They are Extension-trained volunteers who connect Alabamians to reliable gardening information and educational opportunities. Master Gardener volunteers have completed a 50-hour horticulture training course and contribute their time and expertise as volunteers to various community projects. All Master Gardeners represent the Extension as educational resources for their communities. Their overall mission is to improve the quality of life where they volunteer.

Become a Master Gardener Volunteer

Do you love plants? Do you love to volunteer your time? Then you are a great candidate for Master Gardener Intern Training! You do not have to be a garden expert; simply come with a desire to learn and grow. 

For those interested in becoming a local Master Gardener, the next class is set for Aug. 10 through Nov. 9, 2023. Master Gardner training class will be held in Russellville at the Ralph Bishop Center, 201 Ash Avenue. Cost of the program is $150 – $50 for the textbook, $50 for the class and $50 for the background check. The class is a hybrid; therefore, the lecture will be online using the platform Canvas, and the lab will be once a week on Thursdays.

For more information on becoming a Master Gardner volunteer, contact the Franklin County Extension Office at 256-332-8880.

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