Do you have a strong interest in gardening? Are you a lifelong learner? Do you want to help others and share your gardening enthusiasm and knowledge? Then consider becoming a Penn State Master Gardener.

Penn State Master Gardeners are volunteers who are trained by Penn State Extension and support Extension’s educational programs in consumer horticulture. Master Gardeners volunteer with service agencies and community groups on a wide host of educational gardening projects. Master Gardeners create demonstration gardens, introduce plant science to children, answer gardening questions, and write articles and fact sheets.

Training for new Master Gardeners in Mercer County will begin on Oct. 8 through March 2021. Due to the current pandemic, classes will be held mainly online with a few classes being held in person at the Mercer County Extension Office in Mercer for hands-on training. The training covers basic plant and soil science, plant propagation, integrated pest management, pruning, and much more.

In exchange for 40 hours of instruction, candidates must agree to volunteer 50 hours to Penn State Cooperative Extension. Volunteer activities currently carried out by the Master Gardeners in Mercer County include: Maintenance of demonstration gardens at the extension office, Speakers Bureau (which involves speaking at different organizations regarding different topics), working with different youth organizations involving vegetable gardens, fairy gardens, etc.

The Pennsylvania State University encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Susan Lanigan at 724-662-3141 in advance of your participation or visit.

The fee for the 2020-2021 Master Gardener Training in Mercer County is $200, which includes a comprehensive training manual.

Classes are on Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m., starting on Oct. 8 through March 2021.

For more information or to receive an application please contact Susan Lanigan at sxl980@psu.edu or 724-662-3141.