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Master Gardener Training Program begins Friday

Course meets Fridays at NFM Rec Center through Nov. 17

August 2, 2017
By ASHLEY GOODMAN ( , Pine Island Eagle

Looking to hone your gardening skills? Beginning Aug. 4 through Nov. 17, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Lee County Extension Service will launch its annual Master Gardener Training Program.

The course, which meets each Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the North Fort Myers Recreation Center, will teach attendees about basic botany, agriculture, horticulture and Florida's ecology.

"The programs trains volunteers to become proficient in all aspects of gardening, ornamental landscaping, vegetation, tropical plants and so on," said Roy Beckford, Lee County extension director and agricultural and natural resources agent.

Attendees will also become knowledgeable in microscopic pests and diseases, pollinators and beneficial insects.

"We have over 300 active Master Gardeners in Lee County," Beckford said.

The panel of teachers for the program are comprised of educators from the University of Florida, Master Gardener mentors or government professionals.

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"Two people come in each week," Beckford said.

The program is $180 per person.

Upon graduating, attendees will have a plethora of volunteer opportunities which include participating in community and school garden projects, answering horticultural questions over the phone, in-person or through news articles, providing public education programs, supporting youth activities, performing soil sample evaluations, speaking at conferences and workshops, certifying Florida-friendly yards through the Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program and certifying Florida backyards through the Florida Yards & Neighborhood Program.

The class sizes are typically small, making it a more intimate learning environment.

"We typically have 20 people per class," Beckford said.

Those who are interested in participating in the program can apply either online or in-person at Terry Park.

The application can be found at ticultureelectronicform/mgapplication.pdf

For additional information about the Master Gardener Training Program, call 239-533-7504 or go to



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