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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

The most recent class of Wichita Master Gardener interns advanced to full-fledged Master Gardeners at the association’s regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 7. The Master Gardener training included over 50 hours of classroom training and then 60 hours of volunteer service at Master Gardener projects throughout the county.

This graduating class logged 962 volunteer hours, with nearly half of them having over 100 hours of service in the community. Using the average dollar credited to volunteer service this is over $19,000 of benefit to Wichita County from these new Extension volunteers.

The class included: Mary Bowman, Ralph Filler, Bonnie Jones, Sue Nunn, Ernie and Marilyn Putthoff, Kaye Rickson, Randi Sinclair, Arthur Bea Williams and Gail Wisdom.

Master Gardener interns receive intensive training on topics including: soils and plant nutrients, plant physiology and propagation, Earthkind landscaping, plant health, Fruit and nut production, vegetable and herb gardening, landscaping, trees, and lawn care plus the Earthkind and organic systems.  In addition, these Extension volunteer receive training on educating adults and how that differs from teaching younger students.

The training comes from Extension professionals as well local experts and educators. In addition, Master Gardeners are required to receive additional yearly educational hours to maintain their certification. They also continue their service in the community with required volunteer service hours each year. This past year the Wichita Master Gardeners supplied over 3,550 hours of service valued at over $71,000 to Wichita County.

There are many Master Gardner projects around the county. One of the best known is the Xeriscape garden at the Ray Clymer Exhibit Hall. It is the oldest garden of its kind in the state of Texas. Other projects include: the Earthkind rose garden in Hamilton Park, the garden renovation at the Kell House, the Mary’s garden and Junior Master Garden at Notre Dame plus the Friendship garden and Variety trial at the Boys and Girls Club in Burkburnett.

As Extension educators, Master Gardeners provide citizens one-on-one assistance, speak at local organization meetings and offer public trainings. Last fall they sponsored the regional water program, “Living Well With Less Water in Texoma”. The program brought together over 100 citizens to hear experts from Oklahoma, Arizona and Texas discuss all aspects of how landscapes and gardens can be designed to use less water.

A new class is being considered for 2012 if there is sufficient interest. Contact the Extension office for more information.

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