So you want to be a Master Gardener...

SYCAMORE — Do you love spending hours planting and tending your garden? Do you have a knack for teaching and enjoy sharing knowledge?

If gardening is your passion, consider becoming a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener.

There are nearly 3,400 Master Gardener volunteers in Illinois. Each year, they reach thousands of people and are a valuable source to many schools, communities, youth programs and farmers markets. Together, they teach classes and workshops, answer telephone inquiries concerning home horticulture, guide planting and educational demonstrations in community and school gardens, represent the program at the county and state fair, and work with many community organizations to convey up-to-date, research-based gardening information.

To become a Master Gardener, apply to the DeKalb County Extension program. Upon acceptance, candidates will begin Master Gardener Core Training. After training, interns must volunteer in their communities at least 60 hours over two years. After completing training and internship, candidates are certified. To maintain certification, Master Gardeners must complete 10 hours of continuing education and 30 hours of volunteer service each year.

Applicants must complete an application and interview by Dec. 14. Interviews will be set by Extension staff. Training in 2013 will be from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Mondays from Jan. 7 through April 1 in the DeKalb County Community Outreach Building, 2500 N. Annie Glidden Road in DeKalb. Training is $175, which includes the manual. For those unable to attend in person, there is an online option for $250.

If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener, contact program coordinator Bethany Macarus at 815-758-8194, visit web.extension.illinois.edu/mg/ or stop by and the Extension office in the DeKalb County Farm Bureau building, 1350 W. Prairie Drive in Sycamore.

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