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Become an Extension Master Gardener in Your County

University of Minnesota Extension, Stearns County News
August 9, 2017        
Source:  Beth Berlin, Extension Educator-Horticulture
University of Minnesota Extension
Stearns, Benton, & Morrison Counties


Become an Extension Master Gardener in Your County
By Beth Berlin, University of Minnesota Extension

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (08/09/2017) — If you have an interest in plants and gardening and would enjoy sharing that interest with others, apply to become a University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener volunteer.  Applications are being accepted for the Stearns, Benton, or Morrison Counties Extension Master Gardener Program now until October 2, 2017.

Individuals selected for the program begin an internship that starts with the Master Gardener core course training on January 12, 2018.  The course is taught online or in-person at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.  Instructors are University of Minnesota Extension educators and faculty. 

Following the course, interns will complete 50 hours of volunteer service in the first year, working with local Extension Master Gardener volunteers on a variety of projects that educate the public about gardening and horticulture.  You might answer plant questions by phone or at an information booth, write a newspaper column, put on educational events, or make a presentation to a community group.  In Stearns County the primary projects include Gardening Education Day, Gardening Knowledge For Free, and Garden Camp at the Stearns History Museum. In Benton County primary projects include Spring Gardening Seminars, Benton County Fair, and the Garden and Landscape Tour. In Morrison County projects include Hort Day, Morrison County Fair, and a Bus Tour.                                              

After completing the internship, you become a certified University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener.  To remain certified, Master Gardeners must contribute at least 25 hours of volunteer service annually and receive five continuing education hours per year.

Cost of the entire program is $320 and will include the training, background check, and all course materials.  Benton County Extension Master Gardeners are offering up to six $200 scholarships, please inquire upon application. Other financial hardship funds may be available in other counties.

For an application packet and more information for Stearns or Benton counties, please call the University of Minnesota Extension Stearns County office at 320-255-6169, extension 1 or To apply for Morrison County please call 320-632-0161 or  For more information about the Extension Master Gardener program go to


Beth Berlin
Extension Educator, Horticulture
(320) 255-6169
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