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Master Gardeners: Growing Community

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Credit ISU Extension and Outreach
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Did you know last year in Iowa nearly 2000 Master Gardeners  volunteered over 119,000 hours for community garden and beautification projects.  Who are Master Gardeners? Master Gardeners come from a variety of backgrounds. They are passionate about serving their communities and sharing gardening best practices. They are individuals who have taken the Master Gardener training and share their time and expertise as volunteers in community gardens, city beautification projects, farmers markets and many other community-based horticultural efforts. It is the acquisition of knowledge, the skill in gardening, and giving back to the community that distinguishes a Master Gardener from other gardeners. To learn more about how to become a master gardener go to https://www.extension.iastate.edu/mastergardener/become-master-gardener

The mission of the Iowa State University Extension & Outreach Master Gardener Program is to provide current, research-based, home horticulture information and education to the citizens of Iowa through programs and projects. Through their participation in educational activities, Master Gardeners also increase their own personal knowledge in horticulture. Master Gardeners extend Iowa State University Extension & Outreach’s consumer horticulture education programs through volunteer activity.

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Credit ISU Extension and Outreach
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Since 1979 more than 10,000 Iowans have received Master Gardener training from Iowa State University Extension. The Extension Master Gardeners is an internationally recognized volunteer program. The program exists in all fifty states, and in Iowa is coordinated by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach with support from the Department of Horticulture.  The first Master Gardener Program was initiated in King County, Washington in 1972. In response to overwhelming requests for horticulture information, the extension agent came up with the idea of trading specialized training in horticulture for a commitment to spend a specified number of hours doing volunteer outreach work for extension. The Iowa Master Gardener program was first piloted in Scott County in 1979. Today, there are Master Gardeners in more than 90 of the state’s counties, and more than 10,000 Iowans have been trained in the Master Gardener program.

Want to learn about the Master Gardener program in Woodbury County? Contact Kellie Solberg, Master Gardener and Regional Foods Coordinator, at 712-276-2157 or email her at ksolberg@iastate.edu.  The Woodbury County Extension office is located at 4728 Southern Hills Drive in Sioux City Iowa.  Stop by the office or visit them online at www.extension.iastate.edu/woodbury    

Julie Hlas is an Advancement Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Focusing her efforts on External Relations, Communications and Marketing, Hlas has worked for ISU Extension and Outreach for over 14 years. Working as part of the state advancement team in Ames, IA, she also assists 28 county extension offices on the Western side of Iowa. Prior to her Extension career, she worked in public relations for the crime prevention unit of the Minneapolis Police Department and as a journalist for several small newspapers in NW Iowa. Hlas is a graduate from Iowa State Univeristy with a Bachelors of Science Distributive Degree in Advertising/Communication/Music. In her off time, she is an avid supporter of the arts and can be found around Sioux City Iowa, performing in and attending theatrical and musical productions.
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