Teaching in the Garden
University of Minnesota Extension's Master Gardener Volunteer Program is experiencing participation at an all-time high.
Since the national program came to Minnesota in the 1970s, the University-trained volunteers have shared their knowledge on everything from soil preparation to rain gardens, and have reached everyone from retirees to budding young growers.
"Extension offers a chance to learn, network, and give back to our communities," says Denise Moen, a Master Gardener intern in Scott County. "Together we can turn the next generation on to the wonders of the garden."
There are teaching gardens in many parts of the state, where communities gather for learning opportunities relevant to local needs and interests.
One example is Evenings in the Garden, an annual series sponsored by the Carver-Scott Extension Master Gardeners offering summer classes in the teaching garden at the Scott County fairgrounds in Jordan.
Master Gardeners also nurture partnerships with dozens of community and government entities statewide, including schools and farmers markets, and work with University faculty to create a research-based curriculum. It’s all part of Extension's overall effort to deliver high-quality learning experiences with local relevance.
And plans are underway to build a new physical home for Master Gardeners at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen. There, volunteers will develop new educational opportunities and build on projects that have already proven successful.