OLATHE — If you enjoy gardening and working with others and sharing your growing passion then the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Master Gardener program may be just the opportunity for you.  Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Extension Master Gardener (EMG) training program.
EMG volunteers get involved in a variety of projects including maintaining demonstration gardens, staffing a gardening hotline and giving presentations through the speakers’ bureau. Youth programs are also another avenue for volunteer participation.
The deadline for application is July 15. Training sessions will begin September 17, and run each Tuesday through November 19, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All classes will be conducted at the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Office, 11811 S. Sunset Drive, Suite 1500 in Olathe. There is a $125 administration fee for those accepted into the class. Class members must be Johnson County residents.
An informational meeting will be held Tuesday, June 25 at 1 p.m. for anyone wanting more information about the Johnson County Extension Master Gardener program before they apply. Dennis Patton, horticulture agent, and Laura Dickinson, EMG coordinator, will be on hand to take questions and discuss the Extension Master Garden program
The EMG program, sponsored by K-State Research and Extension, is designed to teach area gardeners about horticulture and give them the opportunity to share their knowledge through various gardening-related volunteer projects. Applicants who are selected for the EMG program will receive intensive horticulture-related training from university and industry experts. In return, newly-trained recruits will be required to volunteer a minimum of 40 hours of service during their first year after training, and at least that many in subsequent years in order to maintain EMG certification. On average, a typical Johnson County EMG donates more than 115 hours of service yearly.
K-State Research and Extension began their Master Gardener pilot program in Johnson County 30 years ago. In 2012, Extension Master Gardeners volunteered more than 47,870 total hours to the Johnson County community.
Gardeners who join the program bring many different experience levels and interests to the program. If you are a novice gardener, do not let the title of Extension Master Gardener intimidate you. Your love of gardening and passion for sharing your garden experience is the basis for success. If you are interested in applying for the program, or would like more information, please contact Johnson County Extension at (913)715-7000 or visit www.johnson.ksu.edu and click on the Master Gardener link for details.