Lowndes Master Gardeners meet to landscape at the new Mississippi State University Extension office in Lowndes County in November. In front, from left, are Nancy Reeves, Ina Johnson, Pat Wheeler, Frances Deignan, Mary Jo Sabo and Carol Moore. In back are Extension Agent Reid Nevins, Bill Branch, Gayle Booker and Mona Whitson. Photo by: Courtesy photo
January 27, 2018 10:15:24 PM
A new Master Gardener Training course will soon begin in Mississippi county Extension offices. In Lowndes County, classes will be held from 1-5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays Feb. 20 through March 27 at the Lowndes County Extension office at 485 Tom Rose Road, near the juncture of Highway 82 and Highway 45 South.
The Master Gardener volunteer program is a prime way to gain horticultural expertise at a low cost, meet other avid gardeners, share gardening experiences, get connected to the community and belong to a well-respected educational exchange program, said Reid Nevins, Agricultural and Natural Resources Extension agent serving Lowndes County with Mississippi State University.
The Mississippi Master Gardener program offered by MSU Extension Service trains and certifies individuals in horticulture and related areas. In exchange for educational training, those volunteers are asked to give their time to help the Extension Office with horticulture projects that benefit the local community.
"You may have noticed some of the landscape projects around Columbus that have had the hands of the Lowndes County Master Gardener volunteers placed on them -- like landscaping at the downtown Post Office, the Butterfly Garden at the Columbus Riverwalk, or colorful pots and landscaping at Lee Park and the entrance to Baptist Memorial Hospital," Nevins said.
Master Gardeners or the Extension Service also offer horticultural programs to the public, as well a yearly plant sale.
How to enroll
Cost for the course is $100. Should circumstances prevent a volunteer from attending classes after registration, $50 of the fee is refundable if requested the first week of classes. Fees fund the training program, materials, CD and meeting refreshments.
To register in Lowndes County, contact the Extension Office at 662-328-2111, or email Nevins at [email protected] In Oktibbeha County, contact that Extension office at 662-323-5916. In Clay County, call 662-494-5371.
To maintain certification in the Master Gardener program, individuals must attend 12 hours of advanced training and also volunteer 20 hours of service to the County Extension program annually. The average Lowndes County Master Gardeners volunteer an average of 40 or more hours per year.
Individuals who require special accommodations to participate should contact the Extension office to make their request known prior to the program.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.