MONTROSE, Pa. — The Penn State Extension Master Gardeners of Susquehanna County are launching an exciting new opportunity for children ages 10-13 this spring and it’s called the Junior Master Gardener Program.
The goal of the Junior Master Gardener program is to motivate the children in our area to achieve certification as a Junior Master Gardener and to be involved in community service, while working closely with Certified Master Gardeners. In order to achieve certification a child must complete five sessions with the last session looking at possible careers or options for the future.
Orientation will be held March 26 at the Penn State Extension Office in Montrose, with the first official class beginning March 31. Each class will run from 10 a.m. to noon. Classes will be held twice a month at various locations throughout the 2018 growing season.
Junior Master Gardener is a flexible children’s horticultural program that is run in three separate but connected sessions: spring, summer and fall. The children will learn about the many aspects of horticulture. They will receive basic instruction in botany, entomology, propagation, soil, composting, plus a lot more. This will be a fun hands-on learning experience using a combination of individual and group projects. The Junior Master Gardener program is full of experiments and growing challenges. They will even be “citizen scientists” for ‘Seed Savers Exchange’ and participate in collecting data on the various plants they choose to grow.
Students do not need to take each session consecutively but must complete all five in order to achieve Junior Master Gardener status. This may take two years or more depending on the individual student. Teenagers may graduate and volunteer to come back and help teach the next group and continue to learn. Certification is not mandatory and other awards and recognition are given along the way. There is a class size limit of 12 children per session.
2018 Junior Master Gardener Curriculum
Children will learn the basics parts of plants, seed starting, propagation, composting, soils plus more. There will be hands-on fun in the classroom, outdoors and at home and by the end of this session, the children will begin to become involved with being a “citizen scientist”.
The children will continue to learn about growing vegetables, herbs, insects and diseases. More fun individual and group projects are included. The 4-H Pumpkin Roundup project, which is a hands-on growing, documentation and exhibition project, up will be incorporated into this session as well as the continuation of being a “citizen scientist”. Growing food helps create a more positive attitude toward healthy eating and making a positive impact in your community. Food grown in the gardens will be donated to local food pantries.
In this last session of the year children will learn about fruits, nuts, ecology and the environment. Project books will be displayed at the Harford Fair. Participants will conclude the 4-H Pumpkin Roundup project by exhibiting their pumpkins and project book in a variety of categories such as: painted, largest pumpkin, pumpkin people, carvings and/or recipes. They will also conclude their “citizen scientist” project. All data that they have collected will be submitted to ‘Seed Savers Exchange.’ Food grown in the gardens will be donated to local food pantries.
If you have a child or know children who have a big interest in gardening, this program is for them.
— Penn State Extension, Susquehanna County