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Texas Master Gardener Certification course starting soon

To The Leader

The Orange County Master Gardeners Association will be conducting their annual Texas Master Gardener Certification course starting September 3, 2020 at 9 a.m. and run approximately four hours virtually. Participants must apply for the training in advance at https://txmg.org/orange JOIN MG. Thursday, August 27, 2020 from 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. participants will pick up their supplies and instructions for the online classes at the Orange County AgriLife Extension office, 11474 FM 1442, Orange. For those who will not be able to attend any of the online sessions of the class, it will be recorded for listening at your convenience prior to the next class date.

The objectives of the Orange County Master Gardeners Association are to train volunteers (members and interns) in horticultural education and community service to assist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Orange County. We promote horticultural education to the community and to provide service to the community with enrichment programs through Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Programs. Master Gardener volunteers receive in-depth training in horticulture management, plant development and propagation, landscape design, soil characteristics and improvement, vegetables, herbs, fruit trees, berries, pecan trees, insects and diseases, how to control and prevent them with integrated pest management, lawn care, water properties along with ornamental plants. Besides the Orange County Master Gardeners Association, there are 92 Master Gardeners Associations throughout the State of Texas serving Texas Counties.

“Classes are scheduled to run from September 3 thru December 17, with dates and times posted on our website and Facebook page,” Sheri Bethard, Association President, said. “Because of the current conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, for the time being, we have arranged for classes to be virtual (online) with speakers from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Services staff in College Station. Field trips and in-person classes have been delayed until the virus has decrease significantly and chance of transmitting the infection is hopefully less. Classes currently are scheduled thru November 5. We are hoping after that time we might be able to do some in-person classes, but only time will tell. We are closely monitoring the Orange County Health Department, Texas Health Department and the CDC recommendations for the safety of our members and students.”

Initial requirements to become a Certified Texas Master Gardener, Orange County Master Gardener Association includes 50 plus hours of approved basic training and 50 hours of approved volunteer service and a background verification check. Fees for the class are $150 covers all learning materials including the new Texas Master Gardener handbook, a 424-page full color hardcover manual and the volunteer background verification check. Instructions for applying online are posted at https://txmg.org/orange JOIN MG. To maintain your certification, the requirement is 12 approved volunteer hours and 6 approved advanced training hours. Normally, our monthly meetings are held each second Thursday of the month at 6:00-8:30PM with presentation by outside speakers. But for the time being we are limiting to virtual meetings of members only. We will post when public meetings are being held again.

The Texas Master Gardeners is a program sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Last year the Orange County Master Gardeners provided over 2,600 volunteer hours within Orange County. Some of the past  community projects we have been involved in are: our Master Gardener Hot Line for your gardening questions;  the Replanting Orange County in conjunction with the Orange Lions Club; donation and  planting rose bushes at the Orange Train Depot and Sunset Grove Country Club; building a garden for Circle K Day Care; Kindergarten presentations; The Egg to Chick program in area schools and helped City of Bridge City pass out trees during their community tree give away. Other activities we assist with each year are the Senior Rally Day, AgriLife’s Kids Cooking Camp and Kids Sewing Camps, the Michael Hoke Nature Day and the 4H Clover Camp all sponsored by the Orange County AgriLife Extension office. Our annual fund raiser is our spring Annual Bloomin’ Crazy Plant Fair which we sell numerous varieties of plants from A to Z along with having vendors available for our customers to visit.