Local Extension master gardener program offers hybrid training

Livingston Master Gardeners Cathy Montgomery and Carol Gardner. For 12 weeks, Hybrid Master Gardener Training participants will follow a weekly schedule of independent study in an online classroom and weekly in-person sessions. (Photo courtesy of U of I Extension Services)

For 46 years, University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners have measured success by gardens planted, insects identified, produce harvested, and countless volunteer hours logged by helping others learn to grow.

From farms and small-town to suburbs and the inner city, more than 2,600 volunteers statewide put the mission of “helping others learn to grow” into practice by providing gardening education and outreach in their communities. Take your love of gardening to the next level by joining the Master Gardeners in 2021.

Hybrid Master Gardener Training with in-person sessions starts Sept. 14. For 12 weeks, participants will follow a weekly schedule of independent study in an online classroom and weekly in-person sessions on Tuesday mornings.

“Our hybrid training is a great opportunity for folks who need more flexibility to participate,” said State Master Gardener Specialist Candice Hart. “The online portion of this hybrid model gives more flexibility for trainees to learn at their own pace each week and also participate in weekly live interactive webinars with their fellow trainees.”

The training includes videos, a Master Gardener manual, reading materials, quizzes and hands-on lessons. Participants will join online or in-person on Tuesdays depending on local regulations. A strong internet connection is highly recommended.

This course is aimed at exposing participants to in-depth horticulture content through modules including soils and fertilizers, plant diseases, entomology, pest management organic gardening and more. For more information about the course, visit master-gardener.extension.illinois.edu/mgot.

For more information on the local session of Master Gardener Training offered to McLean, Livingston, and Woodford Counties, visit go.illinois.edu/LMW. Enrollment in Master Gardener Training requires registration, completion of a volunteer application and background screening. Space is limited and registration closes when the class fills or Sept. 1.

A registration cost of $200 covers the expense of the Master Gardener training manual and educational supplies for hands-on lessons. Fee waivers are available upon request for an individual requiring support to cover the cost.

After receiving training, join the Livingston, McLean or Woodford Master Gardeners in their efforts “Helping Others Learn to Grow” in their local communities. Opportunities include community education, establishment of demonstration gardens, Master Gardener Help Desk support and more.

For answers to any questions, or need further assistance,  contact volunteer coordinator Liz Repplinger, pegg@illinois.edu or call the McLean County Extension Office at 309-663-8306. University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in programming, contact the McLean County Extension Office. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting participant needs.