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Lee County Extension Service offering Master Gardener certification training

January 8, 2014
Lehigh Acres Citizen

If you have a green thumb, this may be the class for you.

A 14-week Lee County Extension Master Gardener Certification Training Class will be offered every Friday starting on Jan. 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the North Fort Myers Recreation Center.

The course covers topics such as soils, fertilizers, pest and disease identification and control, native plants, citrus, lawns, palms and much more.

The would-be master gardeners are trained by the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences. Those who get through the class will become master gardener volunteers by the end of April.

"They will be state certified through the University of Florida. Then they owe us 50 hours per year of volunteer work," said Stephen Brown of the Lee County Extension Services. "It helps the extension agent to do more work through citizen volunteers,"

The services they will handle include answering phone calls for those with gardening questions, help in group teaching and working in community gardens and the soil lab, helping with fact sheets on native and exotic plants, Brown said.

The volunteers will provide Floridians with research-based gardening information that covers planning and maintaining urban, suburban and rural landscapes while promoting them to be stewards of the environment.

They also will meet new friends and build camaraderie with those they are learning alongside while always in the process of learning, Brown said.

"This represents the beginning of their relationship with extension services and with the gardening community," Brown said. "We've had people volunteer with us since the late 1980s and look forward to people sending in an application."

The course is fast-paced but also made for beginners.

The extension wants people who have an interest serving others, Brown said.

The fee is $140, with the class size to be limited to between 20 and 25 people. Brown said an interview process might be necessary.

For an application or information, email or call 533-7513, or visit

Lee County Extension agents offer educational services through a three-way cooperative arrangement between the Lee County Board of County Commissioners, the University of Florida and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Local extension agents are off-campus faculty members of the University of Florida and are housed within Lee County's Parks & Recreation Depar-tment.



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