Next to digging in the dirt, there’s nothing gardeners enjoy more than learning about their favorite plants. An easy way to increase your gardening knowledge is to join the next Washington State University Extension Master Gardener volunteer training course. Master Gardeners is a volunteer service gardening organization, cultivating plants, people and communities since 1973.  

The WSU Master Gardener training course consists of 20 weeks of indoor and outdoor classroom, online, and hands-on activities. The 2019 training will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on alternating Fridays, from Jan. 25, 2019 through June 7, 2019. 

Instructors provide an overview of related subjects and environmentally sound practices including: vegetables, ornamentals, soils, pruning, water-wise gardening, weeds, composting, plant disease diagnosis, insects etc. 

A WSU Master Gardener volunteer gains more than improved gardening skills. The Thurston County WSU Master Gardener volunteer training also focuses on skill building to support volunteers in better serving our community. The fast-paced coursework involves expanding communication skills, team dynamics, problem-solving, project leadership, risk management, technology and more. 

“What really sets Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners is their commitment to lifelong learning and sharing of accurate gardening information with others. Trainees join more than 200 volunteers who have diverse expertise and interests. As a result volunteers have fun learning from one another while making friendships and a difference in our community,” said Cori Carlton, Program Manager. 

Upon completion of classroom work, graduates must volunteer 60 hours on community-based garden service projects before earning the WSU Master Gardener title. 

Tuition is $300 which covers all course training supplies and field trips. Payment plans are available and a limited number of full or partial scholarships are available to those in need. 

To be considered for a training spot you must complete an application and attend a 1.5 hour pre-orientation session. To see if the program is for you, please join us for a pre-orientation session. 

Pre-orientations are scheduled at three locations: WSU Thurston County Extension office, Lacey Library and Tumwater Library. No pre-registration needed. 

Pre-orientations held at the WSU Thurston County Extension Office at 3054 Carpenter Rd. SE, Olympia, WA  98503.

Nov. 13, 2018 from 10:30 a.m. to noon

Nov. 27, 2018 from 5-6:30 p.m.

Dec. 8, 2018 from 10:30 a.m. to noon

Dec. 12, 2018 from 5:-6:30 p.m. 

Pre-orientation held at the Tumwater Library Community Room at 7023 New Market Street SE, Tumwater, WA  98501.

Dec. 3, 2018 from 5-6:30 p.m.

Pre-orientation held at the Lacey Library Community Room at 500 College Street SE, Lacey, WA  98503.

Dec. 11, 2018 from 12:30-2 p.m.

Course spots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited so apply today! The last day to apply is December 14, 2018, only if seats are still available. Applications can be downloaded from our website. https://extension.wsu.edu/thurston/gardening/ 

Non-Volunteer Track: we do have an option for those who are interested in taking the course for professional or personal enrichment but with no desire of volunteering. The cost is $600 and space is limited. Please contact the Program Manager at carltoc@co.thurston.wa.us or 360-867-2162 for further details.

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