A Purdue Extension Master Gardener “Basic Training” course will be offered for residents of Noble and Whitley counties beginning in September.

According to a recent news release from Purdue Extension officials, the Purdue Extension Master Gardener (EMG) program is a volunteer training program. Through the class, participants increase their knowledge on a wide variety of horticultural subjects. Once someone passes the class, participants provide leadership and service in educational gardening activities within their communities to fulfill the EMG mission of “Helping Others Grow.” The group also organizes and promotes opportunities for advanced horticultural education across a wide variety of topics.

The Basic Training course will be held on Monday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. from Sept. 14 through Dec. 21. An orientation class will be held Sept. 8. Participants will be exposed to a wide range of subjects, including soil and plant science, diagnosis of plant problems, pesticide safety, and culture of vegetable, flower, landscape, and fruit plants.

Classes for the bi-county training will be held alternately at the Noble County Purdue Extension office and the Whitley County Fairgrounds Ag Museum. Purdue Extension Educators John Woodmansee (Whitley County) and Ann Kline (Noble County) will facilitate the class and teach several topics.

Safety precautions with respect to COVID-19 will be taken, including physical distancing in the class, officials said. As with all Purdue Extension events, all university, state, and local requirements will be implemented. Those who prefer to take an online version of the class, may contact their county extension office.

Materials and expenses for the series of classes cost $150 per participant; this covers the Master Gardener student handbook, handouts, name badges, and other materials. The teaching resources become part of the Master Gardener’s personal collection. Couples sharing a handbook may attend for a rate of $230.

A completed application is required for all potential students by Aug. 14. Applicants must present identification (driver’s license) to extension office staff. Provided a sufficient number of students enroll, successfully screened applicants will be given a link to complete enrollment and pay online. Those who wish to pay by check may do so in the extension office. Once class begins, students may purchase a flash drive (electronic) version of the manual for an additional $25.

To enroll in the class or for more information, call Noble County at 260-636-2111 or Whitley County at 260-244-7615 and leave a name and address to receive detailed information about the class, including the application, or visit the Noble County South Complex located at 2090 N. Ind. 9, or the Whitley County office at 524 Branch Court, Columbia City.

Interested persons may also access local Master Gardener resources (including class information) under the “Garden” tab at the local Purdue Extension website at www.extension.purdue.edu/noble or www.extension.purdue.edu/whitley.

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