Master Gardeners expand their ranks
Five new, officially-certified OSU Master Gardeners joined an elite group of five other official Master Gardeners residing in Union County during a graduation ceremony and celebration dinner at Stange Manor in La Grande Nov. 7.
To officially be recognized by Oregon State University as Master Gardeners, Union County students attended classes at the OSU Extension Office in Island City, completed a final exam and performed 40 hours of community service. Previous graduates who chose to continue in the program were re-certified as Master Gardeners through their attendance at a minimum of two classes this past year and performing 10 hours of community service.The OSU Master Gardener program is an active and on-going educational process and one that serves the community in the form of volunteer service. Over the past 16 years that the program has existed in Union County, an average of 20 students per year have gone through the classes.
Oregon State University recognizes the program as a serious commitment to education, hard work and service, and the title of Master Gardener is respected by the university and not given out lightly. The name is only given to those who complete the requirements or make the commitment to retain their certification.
The 2009 Master Gardener class will begin on Jan. 8. The curriculum covers five core areas: soils and fertilizers, plant pathology and disease diagnosing, general botany, entomology and pesticide safety. Other classes are included such as grafting techniques, noxious weed identification, composting, fruit tree pruning and herb collecting.
The cost for the class is $125, with $50 refundable to those who have completed all of the classes, taken their exam and volunteered 40 hours of service to a project of their choosing or answering gardening questions from the public that come into the Union County Extension Office. The students enjoy a four-hour class every Tuesday evening with a potluck dinner.
For more information call Clint Hett at the OSU Extension Office, 963-1010.