Florida Master Gardener volunteer training program begins in June

Santa Rosas Press Gazette

MILTON — Do you love gardening or want to learn about gardening and share that knowledge with others in the community? Consider becoming a Florida Master Gardener volunteer.

The University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) trains volunteers for the Florida Master Gardener Program. The 15-week course includes indoor and outdoor classroom work and hands-on activities.

Santa Rosa County Master Gardeners undergo 15 weeks of training with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Training provides an overview of botany, propagation, invasive species, pest and disease management, pollinators, and lawn, landscape, and garden practices. Trained volunteers then commit to volunteer activities in the community.

Applications are due by June 4 and are available on the volunteer communication website.

The selection process includes interviews and takes place in June. Class space is limited.

The 15-week training begins in July with classes meeting every Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at UF/IFAS Extension Santa Rosa County, 6263 Dogwood Drive, Milton, and other locations in Santa Rosa County.   

What Master Gardeners do

Master Gardeners serve as volunteers in the community educating residents on Florida-friendly landscaping. Projects include:

•providing residents with advice on landscapes.

•educating local groups on horticultural topics.

•in-school science programs.

•maintaining demonstration gardens.

•increasing environmental awareness of butterflies and other pollinators at the Panhandle Butterfly House & Nature Center.

Benefits to becoming a Master Gardener include:

•exclusive continuing educational opportunities and field trips.

•comradery with like-minded individuals.

•satisfaction in making the community a better place.

For more information contact Mary Salinas at maryd@santarosa.fl.gov.