The deadline for application to the Noble and Whitley County Master Gardener Basic Training class was extended from July 31 to Aug. 15. Applications for the popular class will be accepted in both Noble County and Whitley County Extension offices until then.

Beginning September 16, 2019, a Purdue Master Gardener “Basic Training” series will be offered for residents of Noble and Whitley Counties. The Purdue Master Gardener Program is a volunteer training program that provides a learning framework for participants to increase their knowledge on a wide variety of horticultural subjects. In turn, participants volunteer by teaching others while representing Purdue University. As volunteers, participants grow as they share knowledge and provide leadership and service in educational gardening activities within their communities.

Training sessions will be held on Thursday mornings (plus two Mondays) 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. from Sept. 16 through Dec. 19. Participants will be exposed to a wide range of subjects including soil and plant science, diagnosis of plant problems, pesticide safety, and culture of vegetable, flower, landscape, and fruit plants.

Classes for the bi-county training will be held alternatively each class session at the Purdue Extension offices in Noble and Whitley Counties (switching every class session between Albion and Columbia City).

“I think class participants will enjoy learning with people from our neighboring county and sharing ideas,” said John Woodmansee, Extension Educator in Whitley County.

Noble County Extension Educator Ann Kline agrees, “The class incorporates a mixture of hands-on learning with traditional teaching methods. Students enjoy interacting with each other and instructors during the class, snack break, and hands-on activities.”

Fall 2018 Master Gardener class participant Chris Moe shared, “I took the class because I love plants and flowers and wanted to learn more about them. It’s nice to interact with people with the same likes as you. And, of course, I loved the snacks!”

Materials and expenses for the series of classes cost $150.00 per participant. This expense fee covers items as the Master Gardener student handbook, handouts, name badges, and other materials. The teaching resources become part of the Master Gardener’s personal collection. Couples sharing one student handbook may attend for a rate of $230.00 ($115 each).

A completed application is required for all potential students by Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. Applicants must present identification (driver’s license) once to Extension office staff. Provided a sufficient number of students enroll, successfully screened applicants will then be given a link to complete enrollment and pay for class online. Those who wish to pay by check may do so in the Extension office. Once class begins, students will have the option of purchasing a flash drive (electronic) version of the manual for an additional $25.

While class participants will be encouraged to create new educational outreach programs, there are already many opportunities for which volunteers are needed. The theme of the Master Gardener Program is “Helping Others Grow.”

If you’d like an application to join our league of volunteers or if you have questions about the program, give us a call in Noble County at 260-636-2111 or in Whitley County at 260-244-7615. If you call and simply leave your name and address, we will send you detailed information about the class, including an application.

You may also stop by the Purdue Extension office in the Noble County South Complex located just south of Albion at 2090 N. State Road 9, or at the Whitley County office at 115 South Line Street in Columbia City.

Interested persons may also access local Master Gardener information (including class information) under the “Garden” tab at the local Purdue Extension website at: www.extension.purdue.edu/noble or www.extension.purdue.edu/whitley.