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Master Gardener scholarship available

The University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener program is now being offered online with classes to begin Jan 9.

Registration deadline is Dec. 12; cost is $275.

As part of the Park Rapids Garden Club's education mission, the club is offering a $125 scholarship to an area resident who enjoys gardening and has a passion for obtaining the knowledge and understanding about nature, plants, and animals and is willing to pass on the continuity of care and stewardship of the earth to future generations.

The recipient must be accepted into the University of Minnesota Master Gardener program. An application into this program can be obtained through the local Extension office.

Contact Sally Shearer, 732-3391, or e-mail

To apply for the Park Rapids Garden Club Master Gardener scholarship, contact Karrie Kapsner at 732-9079.

Application deadline is Monday, Nov. 14.

Master Gardeners began in 1972 at Washington State University and now exists in all 50 states, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Nationally, there are nearly 100,000 Master Gardener volunteers from all walks of life. They reach about 5 million people each year - the equivalent of more than $100 million in value to communities.

Master Gardeners are required to volunteer 50 hours the first year as interns and 25 hours annually thereafter as certified active Master Gardeners.

Active volunteers are also asked to participate in continuing education of five to 12 hours per year, depending on the county in which they volunteer.

The University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners program benefits schools, community gardens, farmers markets and environmental projects.

Becoming a Master Gardener is more than pulling weeds. Although they do love digging in the soil, the scope of their involvement in the community is:

n Teaching classes and workshops;

n Answering phone inquiries concerning home horticulture;

n Teaching and demonstrating horticulture techniques in community and school gardens;

n Assisting youth horticulture projects;

n Media interviews and articles on horticulture topics;

n Speaking to schools and youth groups on gardening topics;

n Holding plant clinics;

n Assisting with county horticulture days and county fairs;

n Representing the program at state fair exhibits;

n Teaching horticulture in hospitals, nursing homes, and retirement centers;

n Assisting University of Minnesota faculty with research projects and variety trials;

n Empower people to grow their own food;

n Work with foresters and

n Improve the state's water quality with shoreline plantings and rain gardens.

Master Gardeners are paraprofessionals that are vital to Extension's goal of getting research-based information to Minnesotans. The steps to become a Master Gardener include completing an application, have an interview and pass a background check. Sometimes a short test is given.

Students will learn about soils, entomology, gardening resources, diagnostics, trees, herbaceous plants, lawn care, plant pathology and more in the 48 class hours of the Master Gardener Core Course HORT 1003 training through the University of Minnesota.

After completing the Master Gardener Core Course HORT 1003, the internship will continue with 50 hours of volunteer time to be completed within the first year of participation.

When the internship is done, the participant starts the next calendar year as an active Master Gardener in his/her community.

To maintain active Master Gardener status, participants will complete at least 25 hours of volunteer time and required continuing education per year.