- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By JEAN HOLBROOK
Special to the Citizen
Thirteen new Master Gardeners joined the ranks of the Nature Coast Master Gardeners (NCMG) following the April graduation ceremony. The new members have successfully completed a rigorous and intellectually challenging 50-hour Master Gardener training program. NCMG’s are sponsored by the state-wide University of Florida/ IFAS Extension Master Gardener Program in cooperation with the Levy County Board of County Commissioners and the national Master Gardener program.
Since its inception in 2007, under the astute tutelage of UF specialists, county agents and FWC, DOT and FFS (formerly Department of Forestry) representatives, 82 local residents have received training and joined the NCMG’s as volunteer representatives of University of Florida. Addressing the 2012 class, Tom Wichman, UF State Coordinator, Gainesville campus, emphasized the mission of the UF Master Gardener program is to ”assist the County Extension Agent in delivering information to residents on how to design, plant and care for their plants and landscapes in a Florida-Friendly way.” As the only multi-county Master Gardener program in Florida, Wichman referred to the NCMG’s as a “model” organization.
Bringing best management practices and state of the art training to the NCMG class, guest lecturers included Ludie Bond, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist; Wendy Wilbur, Alachua County Horticulture Agent; Lynn DiTullio, Fanning Springs Park Naturalist, retired; and a host of NCMG’s speaking from personal experience and words of encouragement to the 2012 class. Successful class attendees commented… “already had neighbors asking for help with grass and azaleas…can’t wait to share information with the youth groups I work with in my job… Wonderful way to proliferate information to the general public.”
Certified Master Gardeners work through their county extension office to educate Floridians and provide research-based information about gardening. NCMG’s representing Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties, volunteer in a variety of ways, including; answering horticultural questions over the phone, in person at information booths, , participating in community and school garden projects, providing educational programs to the public, supporting 4-H and youth horticulture activities. For details on receiving a no-charge Florida-friendly yard visits with NCMG’s, through the Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program, contact: Barbara @ 486-5131 or email email@example.com" \t "_blank"