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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Cori Carlton, Program Manager-WSU Thurston County Extension, (360) 867-2162 or carltoc@co.thurston.wa.us

A volunteer service gardening organization - cultivating plants, people, and communities since 1973.

OLYMPIA - Next to digging in the dirt, there's nothing gardeners enjoy more than learning about their favorite plants. An easy way to increase your gardening knowledge is to join the next Washington State University Extension Master Gardener volunteer training course. For forty-three years, WSU Extension has been training Master Gardener volunteers in the science and art of gardening.

The WSU Master Gardener training course consists of 21 weeks of indoor and outdoor classroom, online, and hands-on activities. The 2017 training will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on alternating Fridays from January 20th through June 9th.

Instructors provide an overview of related subjects and environmentally sound practices including: vegetables, ornamentals, soils, pruning, water-wise gardening, weeds, composting, plant disease diagnosis, insects etc. A WSU Master Gardener volunteer gains more than improved gardening skills. The Thurston County WSU Master Gardener volunteer training also focuses on skill building to support volunteers in better serving our community. The fast-paced coursework involves expanding communication skills, team dynamics, problem-solving, project leadership, risk management, technology and more.

There is a misperception that to become a WSU Master Gardener volunteer you must know everything about gardening.

"What really sets them apart from other home gardeners is their commitment to lifelong learning and sharing of accurate gardening information with others. Trainees join more than 200 volunteers who have diverse expertise and interests. As a result volunteers have fun learning from one another while making friendships and a difference in our community," said Cori Carlton, Program Manager.

On completion of classroom work, graduates volunteer 60 hours on community-based garden service projects before earning the WSU Master Gardener title.

Tuition is $300 which covers all course training supplies and field trips. Payment plans are available and a limited number of full or partial scholarships are available to those in need.

To be considered for a training spot you must complete an application and attend a 1.5 hour pre-orientation session. To see if the program is for you please join us for a pre-orientation session:

  • November 8th at 10:30 a.m.
  • November 14th at 10:30 a.m.
  • November 30th at 6:00 p.m.
  • December 8th at 10:30 a.m.
  • December 13th at 10:30 a.m.
  • December 15th at 6:00 p.m.

No pre-registration needed. Location: Thurston County WSU Extension Office- 5033 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia, WA 98502

Non-Volunteer Track: We do have an option for those who are interested in taking the course for professional or personal enrichment but with no desire of volunteering. The cost is $600 and space is limited. Please contact the Program Manager at carltoc@co.thurston.wa.us or 360-867-2162 for further details.

Course spots are filled on a first come, first served basis. Space is limited so apply today! If room is still available, the last day to apply is January 1, 2017.

To learn more about the program visit our Web Site.

Washington State University Thurston County Extension,
5033 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia, WA 98502

WSU Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local WSU Extension office. Reasonable accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities and special needs who contact Cori Carlton, Thurston County Master Gardener and Master Recycler Composter Program Manager at carltoc@co.thurston.wa.us or 360-867-2162 at least two weeks prior to the event.



County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3