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Master Gardeners make many projects possible

Field trip

Cooperative Extension The Master Gardener class visited the Pollinator Paradise Garden in Pittsboro where Extension Agent Debbie Roos explained the value of these plants for pollinators.

Cooperative Extension The Master Gardener class visited the Pollinator Paradise Garden in Pittsboro where Extension Agent Debbie Roos explained the value of these plants for pollinators.

By Amy-Lynn Albertson

For the Salisbury Post

The 2016 Master Gardener Class for Davidson and Rowan counties graduated last week. Rowan County welcomes 11 newly trained volunteers to our program.

The class met for 17 weeks every Wednesday for three hours. We covered topics such as snakes and other wildlife with a wildlife biologist, native plants for your landscape, pollinator plants, landscape design, vegetable gardening, soil health, insects, plant diseases and much more.

Our volunteers come from wide and varied backgrounds. Some have years of gardening experience and some have none. We have volunteers who are retired teachers and business professionals, and volunteers who are still figuring out what their careers might be.

To become a Master Gardener Volunteer, you just need to be willing to learn and volunteer your time. Tim Hopper, one of our recent grads, said, “The classroom stuff is great, but even better is getting to know the other volunteers and learning from them, as well.”

This year, our new class will have a project to complete as part of their initial volunteer hours. The project is to design and plant a small demonstration orchard at the Extension Center. We will be planting apples, peaches, paw-paws and more.

To become a certified Master Gardener Volunteer you must complete 40 hours of training and then you are required to complete 40 hours of volunteer service. Some of our volunteers started work on their service before we finished class. They have helped with the Rowan County Master Gardener plant sale, 4-H activity day, and answered phones when we needed extra help.

Another project they are working on is the “Heritage, Victory Garden” at the Extension office. This is a no-till vegetable garden that will have vegetables that are heirlooms planted in it.

Rowan County is lucky to have such great, passionate and hardworking Master Gardener Volunteers. Our volunteers have been busy this spring with lots of projects like Earth Day on the Greenway, Plants in the Park, the DIY Gardening Series, and maintaining the beautiful gardens at our office.

In addition to those projects and more, our volunteers also work with several school gardens across the county — Millbridge Elementary, Sacred Heart, Rockwell Elementary, just to name a few. They are a big help during our 4-H summer fun program as well.

In 2015, our Rowan County Master Gardeners logged more than 1,800 volunteer hours. That’s valued at almost $40,000. The next time you see a Master Gardener Volunteer, makes sure to tell him or her thanks, and ask them how you can become a volunteer, too.

To learn more about the Rowan County Master Gardener Volunteer program or other Extension volunteer opportunities, please contact the Rowan County Extension Center at 704-216-8970 or on the web at http://rowan.ces.ncsu.edu.

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