Have you ever wondered who to call for advice on removing squirrels from your attic or slugs from your petunias?
How about having someone identify the spider in your basement or the strange weed in your lawn?
Questions like these are routinely answered by the Gwinnett Master Gardeners.
The Gwinnett Master Gardener program has been in existence for 32 years. It is part of the educational outreach program of the Georgia Cooperative Extension Service.
Through this program, individuals are trained and certified in horticulture and related areas. These individuals, in turn, volunteer their expertise and services, under the direction of their County Extension Agent, to help others through horticultural projects that benefit the community.
Master Gardeners bring the latest horticultural information and practices to their communities' landscapes and gardens. Master Gardeners perform beautification projects at schools and other community sites around the county. They give free gardening clinics at area garden clubs and even Pike’s and .
They also teach programs at schools and community events on topics such as composting, plant preservation, and creating habitats for wildlife.
The most valuable assistance Master Gardeners provide is answering phones and emails at the Extension Office. Homeowners can call in with questions regarding anything from pest control in their vegetable garden to creating a healthy lawn. County residents can also have soil tested through the Extension Office. Affiliation with the University of Georgia allows them to send items such as infected plant material and insects to their labs to be diagnosed and identified.
The Master Gardener program is currently accepting applications now through Oct. 7. The program is a 15-month process. Ideal candidates want to learn more about horticulture and have the desire to give back to their community through volunteering.
The selected candidates enroll in a three-month class run by the University of Georgia beginning in January. The classes are once a week from 9:30 am until 3:30 pm. Those accepted must pass a midterm and final exam then work as interns logging 50 hours of volunteer service before receiving their certificate. After the initial year, participants volunteer a minimum of 25 hours each year to remain certified as a Master Gardener. Last year Master Gardeners volunteered 10,735 hours that add up to over $212,016 in services here in Gwinnett County.
If you would like more information about the program, call the Gwinnett County Extension Office at 678-377-4010 or visit http://www.caes.uga.edu/extension/gwinnett/ or www.gwinnettmastergardeners.com.