Info Meeting Explores Volunteer Opportunities with The Extension Master Gardener Program
Wednesday, June 14, 2023
Extension Master Gardener volunteers take part in many different community gardening activities, such as maintaining the arboretum at the Sedgwick County Extension office. | Download this photo.
WICHITA — If you love gardening, learning, sharing your knowledge with others, and volunteering in your community, the Sedgwick County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program may be for you! A new volunteer training class will be held in the fall of 2023, and anyone interested in applying for the program is encouraged to attend an informational meeting on Thursday, July 20th at 1:30 p.m. at the Sedgwick County Extension Center in 4-H Hall (7001 W. 21st St. North). The requirements and benefits of the program will be outlined, and current Master Gardeners will be on-hand to share their experiences as volunteers. Applications will be available at the event and are also available online.
“Our Sedgwick County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers are incredible people” says Matthew McKernan, Horticulture Agent for K-State Research & Extension - Sedgwick County, who oversees the program. “Our volunteers come from diverse backgrounds, with many interesting talents and skills, but together they share the common bonds of a love for gardening and a desire to help better the community.”
New recruits for the Sedgwick County Master Gardener Volunteer Program must be residents of Sedgwick County, and will participate in extensive horticultural training provided by K-State Research & Extension. The daytime training classes are held on Thursdays, September 7th through December 7th, with morning classes held in person at the Extension Education Center and afternoon classes held virtually on Zoom. Participation in both sessions is required. The cost for the class is $120.00 per person; need-based scholarships are available to defray part of the cost.
Sedgwick County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers devote a minimum of 48 hours of hands-on volunteer service in the community annually. “Together they do so much for our community, from collecting fresh produce for those in need, to supporting community gardens, providing gardening presentations, inspiring youth gardening, and so much more” McKernan says. Other potential volunteer activities include:
- Maintaining a Demonstration Garden and Arboretum
- Volunteering at gardening-themed workshops and special events
- Assisting with gardening projects in the community
- Conducting classroom presentations for youth
- Answering telephone, email, or walk-in clinic questions about gardening
- Speaking on gardening and horticulture topics to local organizations
Since 1987, 882 Sedgwick County residents have received Master Gardener training from K-State Research & Extension-Sedgwick County. In 2022, Sedgwick County Master Gardeners contributed over 21,978 hours of volunteer service and made over 88,589 contacts with the public through their events and workshops.