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Mariposa Master Gardeners Recruiting New Members

MARIPOSA — The Mariposa Master Gardener Program is looking for gardeners who would like to improve their skills and help educate other gardeners about the art and science of growing in the Sierra foothills.

MGs represent University of California Cooperative Extension and provide research-based information, advice and education for the home gardener.

Meeting for four hours once a week from January to May 2017 in Catheys Valley, the class is taught by experts in all aspects of home-garden horticulture. But it’s not all lectures and testing; fun activities such as insect- and plant-ID card games break up the sessions.

Fee for the class is $195, which includes several text books and take-home materials. Each class member will have at least one mentor.

Prospective trainees must fill out an application and be interviewed. Applications are available on the website, cemariposa.ucanr.edu/Master_Gardener, or by phoning (209) 966-2417. The deadline is Oct. 31.

If you want to learn more, there will be a “meet and greet” with new and veteran MGs on Saturday, Oct. 15 at the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors chambers, 5100 Bullion Street in Mariposa, from 10 a.m. to noon.

New Master Gardeners must put in 50 hours of volunteer work in the first 12 months after certification. After that, the requirement drops to 25 hours. MGs must have 12 hours of continuing education each year.

The class starts with an introduction to horticulture in general and takes students through such topics as plant pathology, oak and pine care, dealing with critters and bugs, taking care of a home orchard, making the most of your water, growing fruits and vegetables, discouraging weeds, and plant and insect identification.

Mariposa MGs volunteer for a diverse garden of activities. Besides running the classes every other year, members grow plants and help at the annual plant sales (in Mariposa and in North County), present free workshops for the public, staff the Horticulture Building at the County Fair, maintain a native-plant garden along Mariposa Creek, set up shop at events including the farmers market and other community celebrations, and staff a helpline.

There are monthly meetings for doing the group’s business and continuing-education presentations.

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