|SARASOTA COUNTY — A vibrant Master Gardener Volunteer community in our area is excited to welcome new members to its ranks. A fresh class of graduates from UF/IFAS Extension offices in Manatee and Sarasota counties graduated on May 20 after 12 weeks of intense training.
This combined “Class of 2022,” with more than 30 members, participated in both online and in-person classes focused on everything from plant identification and pathology to botany, soils, entomology, and more.
|“We are so excited to welcome these new, knowledgeable volunteers, and grateful to Manatee County Extension team members for adapting their approach to welcome our trainees into their class,” said Lee Hayes Byron, UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County director. “Due to a staff vacancy, we would not otherwise have been able to offer the course this year.”
Added Crystal Snodgrass, director of UF/IFAS Extension Manatee County: “The Master Gardener Volunteer training program is intense yet rewarding. It is wonderful that this class of graduates was able to experience both traditional and online education, equipping them with the tools needed to serve clientele in Manatee and Sarasota counties.”
The Master Gardener Volunteer program, launched in Florida in 1979 and administered by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), offers a route for individuals interested in gardening, landscaping and community service to help Extension agents deliver outreach, education and projects.
Participants receive extensive, university-designed training on a range of locally focused issues, including sustainable growing, Florida-Friendly Landscaping™, and leadership skills. They then provide myriad volunteer services, from working with homeowners on irrigation and landscape issues to dispensing plant and pest advice.
Through the years, some 5,000 Floridians have joined the ranks of Master Gardener Volunteer. To stay active in the program, members annually must contribute hours of volunteer service and receive continued training.
That includes the roughly 100 active volunteers now part of the Manatee County Extension program and around 160 active in Sarasota County.
The “Class of 2022” graduates include:
Sarasota County Extension: Janis Alberti, Randi Broida, Tracie Cady, Linda Collins, Bryn Durgin, Wilma Holley, Marla M. Hough, Marsha Jordan, Diana Loch, Pat Marchesano, Maggie Richardson, Krystyna Sznurkowski, Christina Tucker, and Ilona Vrba.
Manatee County Extension: Lillian Bonet-Mui, Catherine Charles, Lucinda-Jane Chastain, Vincent DeVivo, Terry Fisher, Kyle Hunter Keating, Elizabeth Ann King, Frances Kurlinski, Brigitte McCarthy, Kaylie McCarthy, Julie L. McKamey, Nancy Porter, Connie Scribner, Lisa Smith, and Kristine DelVecchio. Residents interested in joining the Master Gardener Volunteer program should contact the local county Extension office to request more information. In Sarasota County, call 941-861-5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. In Manatee County, call 941-722-4524 or email email@example.com.
|UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County partners county, state and federal resources to deliver research-based information and programs across six core areas: sustainable agriculture; gardening and landscaping; natural resources; nutrition and healthy living; sustainability; and youth development. Learn more at http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/sarasota, or call 941-861-5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.