Congrats to 2020 Coweta Master Gardener Class

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By Marci Moore, Coweta County Master Gardener Extension Volunteer

What a challenging class our new Coweta Master Gardeners experienced due to COVID-19. 

With only two weeks left in the course studies, MGEV trainees transitioned to a distance learning format to complete their course. The training experience to become a certified MGEV includes 50+ hours of classroom instruction with inspiring speakers, professors and hands-on experts in their field from the University of Georgia. It ends with a final exam and a graduation celebration at the Coweta Extension office.

This year’s program may have changed a little while everyone sheltered in place, but trainees hung in there and still managed to complete their course on time from a distance. Like many other graduation celebrations, the new MGEV graduation activities have been postponed until large groups are once again able to meet safely.

Once the new trainees can begin volunteer activities, they will dedicate 50+ hours of service during their first year by assisting the Coweta County Extension office with educating the public about horticultural topics. After the first year, they must volunteer for at least 25 hours annually in order to maintain their certification.

More than half of our veteran MGEVs donate more than 100 hours per year. It’s that easy, and it’s that much fun.  The best part is making new friends who are just as dedicated to the same love of gardening that you have!  MGEV training classes are held every other year, so our next class will be in 2022. Don’t let it sneak up on you. If you’re interested, call or email the Extension office at 770-254-260 or [email protected] and ask to be added to the MGEV Course waiting list.

Allow me to shine a spotlight on just a few members of the MGEV Class of 2020:

Mr. Jerry Allen went through cardiac rehab with a master gardener and learned so much that it sparked a desire to learn more.  When he retired, Jerry knew he did not want to sit at home. He wanted to continue his church activities and regular visits to the gym but also wanted to try something new. He and his wife decided to visit all the National Parks, and Jerry decided to become a master gardener.  The program opened his eyes to many volunteering and learning opportunities. His class nickname is Sunshine, and when you meet him you can ask him about that!

Ms. Colleen Stephens discovered the Master Gardener program after volunteering for the Coweta 4-H program and decided to become a MGEV after retiring from the family CPA business. She is eager to start using her new skills and knowledge and can’t wait to work in the greenhouse to continue her learning experiences.

Ms. Beth Creekmore joined the MGEV program to give back to the community and learn more about plants.  A retired real estate agent, she likes to hike and work in the yard. She’s frustrated with all the shade in her yard and is confident that with some guidance from other MGEVs and her new gardening skills, she will have the garden she has always wanted and will be able to share that success story to help other gardeners in her community.

Congratulations Coweta MGEV Class of 2020!

2020 Class of MGEVs (top to bottom, left to right) – Top row, Jerry Allen, Gary Brown, Tammy Cash, Nancy Coats; 2nd row, Beth Creekmore, Cathy Dodd, Loly Flores, Rebecca Gibson; 3rd Row, Ron Gill, Cathy Heffner, Paula Hyatt, Mary Ann Kerr; 4th Row, Joseph Kirsch, Cathy LeBar, Pat Lincoln, Cathy Pugh; Bottom row, Colleen Stephens, Nan VanPatten, Jack Watts, and Bill Zieburtz, Jr.

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