Would you rather be outside in your garden than anywhere else? Are you searching for a unique gift for a friend who loves to learn? Do you have gardening questions that need to be answered? Are you looking for something fun to do with your spouse or a friend? The University of Illinois Extension Office in Danville will offer Master Gardener Training Classes in January 2020 at the Vermilion County Extension office.

Master Gardeners are volunteers who enjoy gardening but despite the title, don’t claim to know everything about horticulture. The program focuses on learning for the love of learning. This stress-free approach, opportunity to meet fellow gardeners and share knowledge with the community is exactly what makes the Master Gardener program so popular.

During Master Gardener training, attendees learn about gardening from University of Illinois educators and other horticulture specialists in a way that is both interesting and practical to the home gardener. The classes are geared for all levels- from beginners to more experienced gardeners. Each session covers a different garden related topic such as Small and Large Fruits, Plant Diseases, Insects, Annual and Perennials, Vegetables, Trees, Composting etc. An extensive manual developed by University of Illinois educators for gardeners in Illinois is included in the class price of $200 with a commitment to volunteer. Need based financial aid is available. Participants who finish the classes receive a certificate confirming they completed 60 classroom hours of Horticulture training.

One of the most rewarding parts about being a Master Gardener comes from the friendships made with fellow gardeners and making a difference in your community. Master Gardeners have a wide variety of approved projects when choosing where to volunteer. They grow vegetables for local food pantries, spend time with veterans and children, host a weekly radio program and give presentations to local organizations. They also design, plant and care for community gardens, hold a Garden Day Workshop each March, educational garden themed classes each month, annual plant sale in May and Garden Walk in June. No matter where your talents or interests lie there is something for everyone.

For more information please contact Jenney Hanrahan at the Vermilion County Extension office in Danville at 217-442-8615 or visit our website at https://go.illinois.edu/ApplyVermilion.