Georgia Master Gardeners are active in Southwest Georgia. The St. Teresa’s Catholic School Outdoor Classroom is a prime example of such work.
Julie Franklin, a Master Gardener whose children attend St. Teresa’s, has accomplished wonders in building a demonstration garden to provide educational opportunities for students. She has retained a passion for gardening that started with a grandparent’s encouragement when she was small.
Franklin says that the idea for an outdoor classroom started with Linda Groarke, another parent at St. Teresa’s. Enthusiasm for the project grew, a committee of parents and teachers formed and the garden became a reality in March 2010. Mrs. Franklin has worked with parents and other volunteers to establish the garden which provides hand-on learning for children.
The St. Teresa’s garden enhances the science curriculum for older students and provides them with the experience of vegetable cultivation. The outdoor classroom introduces “farm to table” concepts for younger children.
The Master Gardener program is conducted throughout the fifty United States and some provinces in Canada. It is a two-part educational effort. Interested gardeners are provided with many hours of intense home horticulture training and in return they pay back local university extension agents through volunteerism.
People not wanting the nine-week course may wish to become a Friend of Southwest Georgia Master Gardeners. Friends help with local projects and may attend meetings.
Learn more about Southwest Georgia Master Gardeners at www.swgamastergardeners.com. For information on the fall 2011 Master Gardeners class, call James Morgan at Dougherty County Extension Service at 436-7216.
Meanwhile, join Southwest Georgia Master Gardeners in a celebration of spring gardening at “Away We Grow” at the Albany Mall near Belk from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 19.
There will be displays and demonstrations for everyone from children to adults. The exhibits include school gardens, bonsai, children’s art, rain barrels, tufa pots, daylilies, butterfly conservation, wilt-resistant tomatoes, beekeeping and more.
Even if you are an expert gardener, you will find new things to learn in the spring gardening expo sponsored by UGA Cooperative Extension and the Southwest Georgia Master Gardeners.
Master Gardener Julie Franklin shows off cauliflower at a recent winter workday at St. Teresa’s Catholic School outdoor classroom.