Chautauqua Master Gardeners celebrate volunteer month

Submitted Photo Stephen Rees demonstrates compost bins.

April is Volunteering month, where we give credit and celebrate the work of all the volunteers that serve our community. The Master Gardener Program is offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension and volunteering is a core part of the program. The Master Gardener’s meeting for April included a celebration of our volunteer work over the past year. A cake was presented, and all the Master Gardeners present at the meeting were gifted with a jar of gardeners hand scrub. Our gardening expertise provided our community with an important and considerable resource. The Chautauqua Master Gardeners train the public in sustainable gardening and scientific based horticulture practices.

The gardeners in the community volunteered over 2,500 hours from 41 different volunteers last year. Since volunteering is part of us, we offer many opportunities to assist the community, and these include; Snowflake Festival, Grow Jamestown, 4-H Conservation Field days, Evening in the Garden, Lawson Museum container planters, Chautauqua fairground plantings in Dunkirk, The Jamestown Audubon Native Gardens and the Lily Dale Butterfly Garden.

The Master Gardeners are looking for new volunteers to join our program, candidates will need to complete 60 hours of training, a new training session is planned to start in late 2019. A small fee may apply to cover your materials, after training a background check paid by the program and 50 initial hours of volunteering are required before becoming a Master Gardener. After the initial training, 35 hours of volunteering yearly is required to maintain full Master Gardener membership. Please contact the CCE-Chautauqua office for more information about this opportunity.

The Master Gardener Program is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE-Chautauqua) in line with the County’s 20/20 Comprehensive Plan. CCE-Chautauqua is a community based educational organization, affiliated with Cornell University, Chautauqua County Government, the NYS SUNY system, and the federal government through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. For more information, call 716-664-9502 or visit our website at Cornell University Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.