Master Gardener training

2019 dates set for Panhandle Master Gardener Training

Anybody with an interest in lawns, landscape, or gardening, as well as sharing their knowledge, is invited to take part in Nebraska Extension’s Master Gardener Program, which is seeking volunteers and offering Master Gardener training in the Panhandle beginning in late January.

The Nebraska Extension Master Gardener program has been part of Nebraska Extension since 1976. Master Gardener volunteers are trained by Nebraska Extension faculty and staff in many horticulture-related topics. They then contribute time as volunteers, working through their local extension office, to provide horticulture-related information to their community.

Volunteer tasks may involve answering phones at a county extension office, giving horticulture presentations to community organizations, assisting 4-H clubs with garden projects, judging horticulture exhibits at county and state fairs, participating in community garden projects, writing a garden column for the local paper and more.

According to a statewide news release, Volunteer applicants should be at least 19 years of age with a strong work ethic and an interest in learning more about horticulture and landscape systems. Volunteers need to be willing to commit to the training and volunteer process, and meet all requirements for yearly recertification.

To sign up for the program, call your local Nebraska Extension County Office, or pick up a brochure from Extension offices in Scottsbluff, Alliance or Sidney. The brochure has a registration form that needs to be completed and returned by Jan. 28. The brochure also can be downloaded from the Panhandle Center website,

The 2019 training will begin in late January, with weekly training classes running into late February. The training consists of three statewide classes available at Extension Offices in Alliance, Scottsbluff and Sidney, and the four advanced training sessions that will take place in Scottsbluff.

Participation is $40 for either the three statewide sessions or the four sessions in Scottsbluff, or $55 to attend all sessions. Individual sessions are $15 ($20 for the session at the NRD office, which includes lunch). For an additional $106 fee, Master Gardeners receive at t-shirt, Master Gardener manual, and name badge.


The Fundamentals

The three stateside sessions will be take place Tuesday evenings from 5:30-8 p.m. on Feb. 12, 19, and 26. Through the use of Zoom distance conferencing technology, they will be available at the Extension offices in Alliance, Scottsbluff and Sidney. Local Nebraska Extension Educators at each of the sites to help answer questions.

Topics include:

Feb. 12: Wildlife in the Landscape, presented by Dennis Ferraro, UNL Herpetologist.

Feb. 19: Your Landscape Environment and Weather Ready Landscapes, presented by Extension Educators Elizabeth Killinger and Terri James.

Feb. 26: Secrets of Service for Master Gardeners, presented by Community Vitality Specialist Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel and Nebraska Extension Educator Jessica Jones.


Advanced classes

For proficient (as well as beginner) gardeners, the daytime classes run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 28 and Feb. 4, 11, and 18. They will take place at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottsbluff, except for the Feb. 4 training, which will take place at the North Platte Natural Resources District Office, 100547 Airport RD, Scottsbluff.

The topics are designed for advanced Master Gardeners; however, they are open to everyone. Topics include:

Jan. 28: GMOs – What They Are and How They Affect You, or Not, presented by Leah Sandall, Extension Educator; Review of Nebraska Master Gardener Forms and Time Keeping, presented by Karen DeBoer, Extension Educator; How to Write PSAs, presented by David Ostdiek, UNL Communication/Technology Associate; Master Gardener Community Projects – Where You Can help Out, presented by Laurie Zitterkopf and Elaine Pile, Master Gardeners.

Feb. 4 (at North Platte NRD office): North Platte NRD Greenhouse and Tour, presented by Barb Cross and Jenifer Berge Sauter of NPNRD; NRD Tree Planting Program by Todd Filipi of NPNRD; and Proper Selection and Use of Tree and Shrub Tools, presented by Amy Seiler, City of Gering Director of Parks and Recreation.

Feb. 11: Compost, Composting and How to Use it, and How to Amend Soils, presented by Nebraska Extension Educator David Lott; Vegetable Gardens – Design, Layout, and How and When to Fertilize and Water, presented by Nebraska Extension Educator David Lott.

Feb. 18: Grass and Broadleaf Weeds in Our Landscape, plus Weed ID and Quiz, presented by UNL Integrated Weed Management Specialist Nevin Lawrence; and Nebraska Invasive Species – More than Plants, presented by Nebraska Extension Educator Gary Stone.