WEST BRANCH – For those who love gardening, want to learn more about it, and are interested in volunteer opportunities working with others, the Michigan State University Extension Master Gardener Program may be the answer. A long-awaited 14-week Master Gardener Class will be held on Thursday evenings, Aug. 17 through Nov. 16, from 5:30-9:30 p.m. at the MSU Extension office in West Branch.  This class is rarely offered in the area and is a unique opportunity to get a college level training from MSU professionals close to home.

The Master Gardener Program is a volunteer leader training program for people who are eager to learn science-based and environmentally friendly gardening practices, and share this knowledge with others to help improve and beautify Michigan communities. The Master Gardener training experience provides in-depth education in many aspects of horticulture, including vegetables, fruits, flowers, trees, shrubs, soil, water, pests, lawns, and indoor plants.

The reservation deadline for this training class is Monday, July 31, for payment by check and Sunday, Aug. 6, for payment by credit card. Registration must be completed online at:   http://events.anr.msu.edu/mgvpwestbranch17/. The cost of the full program, which includes a 1,000-page training manual in printed or electronic format, is $300.  

For those needing financial assistance, Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) offers many scholarships between $50 and $150 for those who apply. Scholarship applications are located on the registration web site http://events.anr.msu.edu/mgvpwestbranch17/ and are awarded close to the start of the class.

The Gladwin Master Gardener Association offers four $100 scholarships. Scholarships are available to associate members only. Those eligible will receive notice of eligibility and scholarship details from the association. When registration is confirmed the association will handle reimbursement directly to the individual. The individual will be reimbursed $50 upon completing the class and $50 upon completing the 40 hours of volunteer service to become a certified Master Gardener. Contact Mary Beth Denton at Denton.Marybeth@anr.msu.edu for more information about these scholarships. These scholarships can be awarded in conjunction with the MSUE scholarship to save a participant a significant portion of the class fee.  

For more information about the Master Gardener Class, contact Sarah Rautio, MSU Extension Educator or Cindy Anderson, MSU Extension Secretary at 362-3449 or email at ande1172@anr.msu.edu.

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