GOSHEN — Several local gardeners recently completed the first phase of the Elkhart County Master Gardener program.
Jeff Burbrink, Extension educator with the Purdue Extension Service in Elkhart County and coordinator of the local Master Gardener program, explained that Master Gardeners is a volunteer training program, not just a series of gardening classes. Participants have been attending training for the past four months and have passed an exam. According to Burbrink, the participants will now be giving volunteer time back to the community in exchange for the knowledge they have gained. The focus of the volunteer time is education, with the intent of making this area a better place to live.
The Master Gardener class of 2013 is planning to offer several classes this winter and spring on gardening-related subjects. Brochures for the Master Gardener seminars will be available soon at local garden centers in Elkhart County. In addition, Master Gardeners are available to help with groups in the community, including schools, service clubs and church groups. The Master Gardeners also operate a horticultural hotline at the Extension Office from April through September each year. More than 1000 horticultural questions were answered in 2013 through the hotline.
This is the 19th Master Gardener class in Elkhart County since the program was started in 1996. Burbrink suggested that interested people call Purdue Extension Office in Goshen at 574-533-0554 to be placed on a mailing list for an application for upcoming classes.
Members of the 2013 Elkhart County Master Gardener class are Kay Bontrager-Singer, Goshen; Dan Carlson, Goshen; Brian Christner, Wolcottville; Sandra Copley, Goshen; Teresa Klein, Milford; Samantha Pound, South Bend; Dean Preheim-Bartel, Goshen; Gwen Preheim-Bartel, Goshen; Bill Roberts, Elkhart; John Sizemore, Goshen; Heather Telschow, Wakarusa; Diana Thornton, Bremen; and Georgia Wier, Middlebury.