Do you like to “dig in” to the art and science of gardening and horticulture? Do you enjoy teaching and connecting with your community on the things you love? You should consider becoming an OSU Master Gardener!

Right now is the time to apply for the OSU Wasco County Extension Service Master Gardener Program—applications are due by Dec. 12.

The Master Gardener program consists of two parts: classroom training from horticultural specialists and volunteer service, sharing home gardening information to others in the community. Both parts must be completed to become a certified OSU Master Gardener.

New volunteers receive at least 42 hours of horticulture education and serve 42 hours of volunteer time.

Training is offered once each year in Wasco County. It will be held on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Feb. 19 through April 1. The curriculum provides the volunteers with information and references on subjects such as botany, entomology, plant diseases, pesticide safety, lawn care, plant identification, greenhouse strategies and more.

After the training, participants volunteer their time as extension educators in program projects.

In Wasco County, we have several great projects for Master Gardener volunteers to participate in.

The Dalles Imagination Garden (The DIG)

The DIG is a colorful, engaging, user-friendly, educational garden that stimulates the interest and imagination of children and their families. Master Gardeners and 4-H teach workshops for the community, partner with schools to teach gardening clubs, hold day camps for children, and maintain an interesting exploration environment for families.

Plant Clinics

Master Gardeners help the general public with their gardening questions. We hold several plant clinics a week during the growing season, both at the Extension office and around town. We invite the community to come to us with questions, concerns, identification mysteries and other gardening needs. OSU Master Gardeners are trained to research and recommend the most up-to-date and research-based horticulture information around!

NORCOR Greenhouse Project:

Master Gardeners are teamed up with detained youth in a greenhouse mentorship program at the juvenile correctional facility at the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility (NORCOR) in The Dalles. Together, Master Gardeners and NORCOR students grow hundreds of varieties of annual and perennial plants  which are sold in May at the annual Spring Fair plant sale at City Park in The Dalles. Proceeds benefit both the Master Gardeners and the NORCOR program. The greenhouse program serves as a sustainable horticulture work-study relationship with the youth, and it provides the students access to a hands-on learning environment to explore plant propagation, as well as community-building and teamwork.

For additional information or to obtain an application, visit online at extension.oregonstate.edu/mg/wasco, contact the Wasco County Extension office at 541-296-5494, email Michelle at michelle.sager@oregonstate.edu, or stop by the office at Columbia Gorge Community College, 400 E. Scenic Dr., building 2, level 2, in The Dalles.

Michelle Sager is OSU Extension’s Master Gardener program coordinator in Wasco County.

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