Openings available in the master gardener program

The University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener Program in Anoka County is accepting applications for its 2014 volunteer training program.

Adults, who have an interest in plants and gardening and would enjoy sharing their interest with others are encouraged to apply.

Master gardeners are a group of volunteers who receive professional training in home horticulture by University of Minnesota Extension educators and faculty in exchange for their volunteer time. The program was created in 1977 and is administered by University of Minnesota Extension.

To become a master gardener, applicants need to have an active interest in gardening, be willing to learn and be able to communicate to others what is learned through various activities.

Applicants accepted in the program must attend the master gardener core course, which includes 48 hours of classroom instruction and complete an internship of 50 volunteer hours of volunteer service the first year in the program.

The classroom instruction covers a variety of topics including, but not limited to lawn care, trees and shrubs, entomology, fruits, flowers, vegetable gardening and plant pathology.

Applicants will become certified master gardeners on completion of the core course and internship at the end of their first year in the program.

To continue as a master gardener, volunteers must perform a minimum of 25 hours of service each year and attend a minimum of five hours of continuing education which are made available through many programs.

Many of the volunteer activities include answering phone requests, working in plant and insect diagnostic clinics, teaching classes, working with youth and working in booths at local garden centers or at the county or state fairs.

With the large variety of activities, there are many options to choose from, according to Lynne Hagen, master gardener program coordinator, University of Minnesota Extension, Anoka County.

Applications are available on the master gardener website at Inquiries can also be made to Anoka County Extension Office at 763-755-1280 or email to

Applications will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. Oct. 1 at the master gardener office in the Bunker Hills Activities Center, 550 Bunker Lake Blvd., Andover. There is a $10 application fee.

Selected applicants will be asked to participate in an interview with current master gardeners.

Accepted applicants will be notified in November and receive their core course registration instructions from the State Master Gardener Office. The classes will be held at the U of M St. Paul Campus. Class dates are Jan. 14-Feb. 8, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, and 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

All participants have the option of attending all classes in person, or partially online. The fee is $275. Students will receive a comprehensive packet of educational materials.

People desiring to take the course for personal enrichment, but do not want to be part of the volunteer program, can apply as a pro hort student. The fee for that is $575.

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