The SDSU Extension Master Gardener Program provides university training to volunteers to prepare them to serve their communities through horticulture extension activities. Volunteers answer questions at their local extension offices or other venues, speak to local groups, assist with demonstration gardens, assist with youth projects, write newsletters or newspaper articles, and/or a wide variety of other projects that help to increase the horticulture knowledge of the public. Over the past ten years, MG volunteers have contributed over 80,000 hours of service in South Dakota.
The foundation of the program is over 60 hours of special training provided by SDSU Extension staff. Topics include lawn care; selection and care of ornamental trees and shrubs; insect, disease, and weed management; soils and plant nutrition; vegetable, fruit, and flower gardening; plant propagation, and more. In exchange for the training, and to become a certified Master Gardener, a participant donates a minimum of 50 hours volunteer service during a 2-year time period.
Training is offered at various locations in the state each year. For 2013, we hope to offer a “hybrid” training that will combine online learning with fewer in-person, hands-on learning at selected locations across the state, thus making the training more accessible both to more remote locations as well as to persons with only limited ability to take time off during normal work-day hours. If you are interested in participating, please contact Mary Roduner, MG Coordinator and SDSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Field Specialist, at 605.394.1722.