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Become a Master Gardener


December 8, 2011

FERNDALE – Volunteer to become a Master Gardener through Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Sullivan County. An intensive 15-week training program for Sullivan County residents will begin in February 2012 at the Gerald J. Skoda Extension Center in Liberty. Up to 20 individuals will be accepted into the program after an application process.

Begun in 1975 in New York State, the Master Gardeners Program combines a set curriculum, learning experiences and tutoring. The program provides home and community gardeners with gardening information based on research and reliable experience. Community service is required as part of this “neighbors teaching neighbors” approach.

“Master Gardener training is a core program of Cornell Cooperative Extension throughout New York State and we are pleased to be able to return it to Sullivan County,” said Lydia Reidy, the Sullivan County CCE Interim Executive Director. “Now residents from all parts of the county will have an opportunity to participate in this extremely valuable community service program.”

Cornell Cooperative Extension staff from both Ulster and Sullivan counties will provide the training, led by Dona Crawford, CCE Ulster’s Master Gardener Coordinator. Sullivan Renaissance is collaborating with CCE to help fund the program and identify both volunteers and service opportunities.

“Sullivan Renaissance has worked with Cornell Cooperative Extension on a number of projects over the years, but this is the most exciting cooperative effort by far,” said Sullivan Renaissance director Glenn Pontier. “We often get requests for horticultural assistance. Just imagine the boost when 20 new gardening volunteers begin to assist with garden design and maintenance in communities from Long Eddy to Monticello to Bloomingburg.”

Training dates will run every Tuesday from February 7 through May 15 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Snow makeup dates are the Thursdays following the snow days. Cost is $200 with $50 returned to those who complete the training and the requisite 100 hours of community service.

Volunteer applications are available from Cornell Cooperative Extension and from Sullivan Renaissance. Individuals should check “Master Gardener” in the section “Volunteer Position.” Completed applications must be returned no later than January 6, 2012 to: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County, 64 Ferndale-Loomis Road, Liberty, NY 12754. Applicants may be asked for an interview and are subject to a criminal background check.