Master Gardeners to Hold September Training

Applications due MAY 30

-by Mary Rees

JAMESTOWN, NEW YORK (May 3, 2016)–If you have a passion for gardening and enjoy sharing your knowledge with others, becoming a Master Gardener (MG) volunteer may be for you.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE-Chautauqua) is pleased to announce that its first Master Gardener Core Training class in three years will take place on the campus of the State University New York at Fredonia, September 6 through October 1.

“Holding the classes at SUNY Fredonia will make it easier for interested north county residents to participate,” explains MG President Carol Lorenc, who points out that many have been unable to attend previous trainings at the Frank W. Bratt Agricultural Center in Jamestown due to travel issues.

The schedule for 2016’s training is different, as well. Instead of once-a-week sessions spread over 15 weeks, this year’s classes will meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“We hope this concentrated time frame will appeal to trainees,” says MG Core Training coordinator Mike Jabot, Professor, Science Education at SUNY Fredonia and MG Volunteer. “Falling between Labor Day and Columbus Day, we hope the classes are unlikely to conflict with families’ vacation plans.”

In Chautauqua County, becoming an MG volunteer begins with training focusing on selected topics such as soils, seed starting, plant propagation, companion planting, composting, tree identification, pruning, native and invasive plant and animal species, beneficial insects, plant diseases, and integrated pest management, among others.

After completing MG Core Training, graduates agree to perform 50 hours of approved volunteer activities during the following year, and 35 hours per year thereafter to maintain active status. Volunteers can choose from a wide array of activities, suited to individual tastes and talents, to satisfy this requirement.

Some MG volunteers staff a weekly help-line at the Bratt Agriculture Center during the growing season, answering residents’ gardening questions and providing advice. Others may give free Trowel Talks on selected topics, work on school or community gardening projects, participate in the annual fundraising plant sale, or serve on MG committees.

Other volunteers plan, plant and maintain the MG demonstration garden at the Bratt Agriculture Center and, in the summer, host educational, once-a-month “Evening in the Garden” events, open to the public, featuring taste-testing of produce grown there, or recipes made from it.

Those interested in taking the 2016 MG Core Training classes can request an application from Lucia Conti at CCE-Chautauqua and submit it to her by May 30, at the Frank W. Bratt Agricultural Center, 3542 Turner Road, Jamestown, New York 14701. Applications may also be requested via email at

Applicants will be interviewed by a team of MG volunteers in June and notified of their acceptance to the September MG Core Training class. Class size is limited to 25.

There is an $85 fee for the class, with the first $25 due upon acceptance, to cover the cost of training materials and the background check which is required for all volunteers who represent CCE-Chautauqua in the community.

The Master Gardener Volunteer program is one of many offered nation-wide through the cooperative extension system, an educational partnership between County, State, and Federal governments. As New York’s land grant university, Cornell University administers the system in this state.

By providing horticultural programs and resources to educate home and community gardeners, youth, consumers of horticultural products, and neighbors teaching neighbors, MG volunteers help Cornell Cooperative Extension accomplish its mission “to enable people to improve their lives and communities through partnerships that put experience and research knowledge to work.”

For more information, call 716-664-9502 or visit our website at Cornell University Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.

Each Cornell Cooperative Extension association is an independent employer that is

governed by an elected Board of Directors with general oversight from Cornell. All associations work to meet the needs of the counties in which they are located as well as

State and national goals.

CCE-Chautauqua is a subordinate governmental agency with an educational mission that operates under a form of organization and administration approved by Cornell University as agent for the State of New York. It is tax-exempt under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. 


Lucia Conti
Association Administrative Assistant
716-664-9502 ext. 209

Last updated May 3, 2016