Home, Farm, & Garden
The NC State Extension Master Gardener℠ (EMG) program is a national program of trained volunteers who work in partnership with their county Cooperative Extension Office to extend research-based information throughout the community. The first Extension Master Gardener Program began in Washington State in 1972. All 50 states now have Master Gardener Programs with over 84,000 people participating nationwide. The EMG program provides gardeners with intensive education in horticultural principles. Participants completing training earn certification as Extension Master Gardener volunteers. EMG volunteers provide leadership and service to their community in gardening activities. This service can consist of answering gardening questions by telephone, conducting plant clinics, teaching through demonstration gardens, and many other activities that promote gardening.
In our state, the North Carolina Cooperative Extension sponsors EMG volunteers. Surry County has 23 EMG volunteers who are extremely busy providing gardening information throughout the year. You may have seen them at the Mount Airy Library, Surry County Senior Center, and Pilot Mountain Senior Center each month presenting fun, hands-on, educational workshops. If you have been by the Historical Courthouse in Dobson, you have seen their handiwork with the five demonstration gardens. Each garden has a different focus—including pollinators, edibles, sensory, purple heart, and memorial.
EMG volunteers spend much time in our local communities. They enjoy giving back to these communities and to the people who live in them. One project they promote each year is their EMG volunteer scholarship program. Several years ago, EMG volunteers established a scholarship to assist students in completing a two-year or four-year college degree leading to a career in horticulture or a related field. For clarification, a related field could be but not limited to any of the following careers: horticulture, floriculture, landscape design, botany, forestry, agronomy, plant pathology, conservation, environmental science, soil science, turfgrass, agribusiness, viticulture, etc. This scholarship is intended to encourage professional preparation for future leaders in the field of horticulture or a related field. This year’s scholarship recipient will receive $1,500.
Each applicant must also be a graduate of a high school or equivalent program in Surry County, North Carolina. Students must complete an application and submit it by April 1. Applicants also submit a letter of recommendation from an instructor or employer who is not a relative. After the deadline, the EMG volunteer scholarship committee will meet to review applications. The scholarship committee may request a personal interview to aid in the selection process. An official academic transcript will be requested for the selected applicant.
Applications should be submitted to EMG volunteer Scholarship Committee, NC Cooperative Extension, Post Office Box 324, Dobson, North Carolina 27017. Applications can be found here.
A portion of the funds received from the annual EMG volunteer plant sale goes toward this scholarship. If you would like to help EMG volunteers send high school students to college, visit the plant sale on May 3 in Dobson at the Farmer’s Market Shelter at 903 E. Atkins Street. For more information contact N.C. Cooperative Extension, Surry County Center at 336-401-8025.