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For those of you who would be interested in becoming a Texas Master Gardener, this program is for you, starting in January. The Texas Master Gardener program is an educational activity offered by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service designed to increase the availability of horticultural information and extend horticultural projects throughout the community. These goals are implemented through the training and employment of local volunteers known as Master Gardeners. The Master Gardener program provides invaluable training and educational opportunities. Professional and amateur horticulturalists, as well as people simply seeking up-to-date horticultural information, can advance their gardening expertise, plus gain self-satisfaction through the volunteer aspect of the program, which allows individuals to dedicate their time and talents to enhancing the quality of life for citizens of their community using the science and art of horticulture. Objectives of the Master Gardener Program are to expand the capacity of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to distribute horticultural information to individuals and groups in the community and to develop and enhance community programs related to horticulture. Depending on community needs, these may be environmental improvement activities, horticulture therapy projects or community and school garden programs. Anyone with a willingness to learn and a desire to help others can become a Master Gardener. As a trainee in the Master Gardener Program, you must attend a minimum of 50 hours of instruction, pass an examination and volunteer 50 hours of service to earn the title of Texas Master Gardener. In order to retain this title, you must take six hours of recertification training and provide an additional 12 hours of volunteer service through the local Extension Office every year. The cost of the program is $160. This will cover the cost of the training manual, supplies, and first-year association dues. The class will be limited to the first 15 paid students. Master Gardeners have responsibilities. Following comprehensive training in horticulture, you have one year to complete your volunteer hours. Volunteers are required to report to an Extension Agent about all planned activities. All the work is usually done within the county, but a special request can be made for work to be done in other counties. If interested in joining the Wood County Master Gardener group, contact the Wood County Extension Office at 618 S. Main in Quitman or call 903-763-2924 to be put on the list for the first class. Once your name is on the list, we will send out notification for when the first kick-off meeting will be. I look forward to working with interested individuals in this fantastic endeavor.

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