People who become Master Gardeners through the Virginia Cooperative Extension-Prince William Master Gardener Volunteer program reap benefits for themselves while at the same time helping others in the county.
Nancy Berlin, the master gardener coordinator, said Master Gardeners like helping people grow things, answering questions about plants, diagnosing plant problems and helping people get their gardens started. "Master Gardeners serve as environmental educators to promote landscape practices that are good for the environment, but also produce beautiful results."
The Extension is looking for more people to train as Master Gardeners to bolster the numbers that dwindle annually through attrition, Berlin said. "People move away. Right now, we have about 190 and we would like to have about 200, total. This class will give us an opportunity to train more citizens in best practices."
Volunteering as a Master Gardener requires some commitment. People who are interested can find out what's involved in one of two orientation classes to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 20, in the county's Development Services Building at 5 County Complex Court in Woodbridge and at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22, in the Jean McCoy Conference Room at Sudley North at 7987 Ashton Ave. in Manassas.
Berlin said the orientation will let people know if the time is right for them to become Master Gardeners. "We have the information sessions to make sure that they know what the commitment is before they sign up. I lay out the program for them, so they know what they're getting into, and they fill out an application if they're interested."
Berlin said volunteers who go through the program benefit in a couple of ways. "They get a really excellent education, but they also get a camaraderie with people who are interested in the environment. It's a community of people."
Please call the Extension's Horticulture Help Desk at 703-792-7747 with questions regarding the application process or program requirements, or email email@example.com.