Purdue Master Gardeners Help Others Grow!
By John Orick Purdue Master Gardener State Coordinator Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University
The purpose of the Purdue Master Gardener Program is to train volunteers to assist Purdue Extension Offices with consumer horticulture education needs in local communities. Purdue Master Gardener volunteers complete horticultural training in a variety of topics (soils, plant nutrition, plant science, weed identification and control, insect identification and control, pesticide safety and alternatives, plant disease diagnosis, lawn care, herbaceous ornamentals, etc.). The Purdue Master Gardener Basic Training is 13-18 weeks long and is conducted by Purdue Extension Educators in participating Indiana Counties. To become a Purdue Master Gardener Intern, participants must pay the local fees, complete the Purdue Master Gardener Basic Training, and pass an exam over the material presented with a score of 70% or above. In order to become certified, interns are required to complete at least 35 hours of volunteer activity approved by their local Purdue Extension Educator (County Master Gardener Coordinator). Volunteer activities performed by Purdue Master Gardeners fulfill the program’s purpose of educating Indiana residents in the area of home horticulture and gardening. Purdue Master Gardener volunteers can earn Advanced Master Gardener levels as high as Gold-5,000 hours to be recognized for their work. Purdue Master Gardeners are required to complete a minimum of 12 volunteer hours and 6 educational training hours per year to remain active in the program and continue their training in home horticulture. According to reports of volunteer hours from just 28 Indiana counties, Purdue Master Gardeners have logged over 900,000 volunteer hours since 2002 worth over $16 million (according to the value of volunteer time for Indiana of $18.33/hr. from the Independent Sector).
Purdue Master Gardeners make a difference in the lives of others by sharing their gardening knowledge and often share personal stories of how participation in this Purdue Extension program has changed their own life. Purdue Master Gardeners across the state have coordinated educational bus tours, held social functions to learn about gardening from each other, taught youth gardening classes, and conducted garden symposiums to educate the public.
People interested in the Purdue Master Gardener Program are encouraged to contact their local Purdue Extension Office for more information about a Purdue Master Gardener Basic Training scheduled in a county near them. Come, be a part of “Helping Others Grow” in your community!
Purdue Master Gardener Website
Become a Purdue Master Gardener, HO-184 (pdf file)
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Photo 1: Purdue Master Gardener Basic Training students learn about Plant Disease Diagnosis in LaPorte County. (Photo courtesy of Gene Matzat)
Photo 2: Purdue Master Gardeners enjoy a tour of the Elkhart County Quilt Gardens during the 2013 Purdue Master Gardener State Conference. (Photo by John Orick)
Photo 3: A Purdue Master Gardener in Madison County teaches others about growing herbs. (Photo by John Orick)