Monday, September 16, 2013

Five Reasons to Become a Colorado Master Gardener by Patti O'Neal

The Colorado Master Gardener Program in Jefferson County is accepting applications for the 2014 Apprentice Class and the Colorado Gardener Certificate Program.

The Mission of the program states that the:
“Colorado Master Gardener Program volunteer network strives to enhance Coloradans’ quality of life by:
    •    Extending knowledge-based education throughout Colorado communities to foster successful gardeners;
    •    Helping individuals make informed decisions about plants to protect neighborhood environments.
We are committed to using horticulture to empower gardeners, develop partnerships and build stronger communities.”
You can apply one of two ways.  Either to the volunteer program which is selective and requires an interview and background check.  Or you can take the course with no volunteer expectation and earn a Colorado Garden Certificate from CSU that you may use to promote yourself on a job application or in your business. The second option will guarantee you a seat in the class until we reach our maximum.

Here are 5 reasons why the volunteer program may be a fit for you.
l. You may have some of the skill sets we are looking for to further our education goals and projects for the Jefferson County community.  Teaching, writing, working with children, public speaking are all skills that are helpful.

2.  You are a life long learner.  You look forward to continuing your researched based education and share it with others.
CMG Cathy Jo Clawson of Littleton is Chairman of CMG Public Education Programs.  She says, “Growing up on a farm, my family used the Extension Office for a multitude of issues we experienced on the farm.  So now, I see this as being an opportunity to help others through my work as a CMG.”

3.  You are willing to try new things and put researched based information before your personal agendas.  As a representative of Colorado State University you must be willing to present the researched based information you will be taught and not your personal gardening preferences.

4. You like engaging with other gardeners.  CMGs are a diverse group of like- minded people who share and learn with and from each other through the many activities available. 26 year CMG veteran Allison Milich from Lakewood works in our walk-in diagnostic plant clinic.  She says “I run a home based business, so I enjoy coming to the office to engage with the public, help solve their horticulture problems and to be with other master gardeners and learn from them as well.”

5. Finally, you are good at time management so you can be as involved as possible while managing the other facets of your life.
CMG Gail Wilson of Golden who handles logistics for all our public programs and works in the diagnostic clinic, sums it up this way.  “Of all the different volunteer opportunities I have participated in, this is the most challenging and rewarding because it is skill based.  I’m constantly challenging myself.  The more I give to this program, the more I get back.”

The application and information packet is available September 16.  You may call the Jefferson County Extension Office, 303-271-6620 and provide your name, address and email.  Or you can email to and provide the same information.  Application deadline to qualify for an Apprentice Class Interview is October 21.  Applications deadline for the Colorado Garden Certificate class is December 2.