Master Gardeners celebrate 25th anniversary while benefitting community
Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Twenty-five years ago, the Mississippi State Extension Service Master Gardeners club was established. To celebrate the anniversary, members of the Pearl River County Master Gardeners planted a three-year-old Atlantic White Cedar tree at Poplarville City Park on Monday.
“This group has really grown and is becoming more active in the community. Planting a tree was the perfect way we could celebrate the anniversary because it will grow… for a very long time,” Dr. Eddie Smith, co-coordinator and Pearl River County extension agent said, who has been involved with the Master Gardeners for over seven years.
Smith said over the span of its existence, the Pearl River County Master Gardeners has had over 140 members come through the program. Currently, there are 28 active members.
Members of the Poplarville Board of Aldermen, Master Gardeners and city residents all gathered to celebrate the planting of the tree, which was symbolic for the president of the Pearl River County Master Gardeners, Bertha Page.
“I love nature and I have loved every second of being a Master Gardener. The tree not only resembles the beauty of nature, but it also resembles our future growth,” Page said.
After coming up with the idea to plant a tree, the next step was choosing the location, which was an easy decision for Page.
She wanted the tree to be in a public place in which the community has the opportunity to watch it grow.
The overarching goal for the Master Gardeners is to “extend the educational arm of Mississippi State University to the public and surrounding communities by offering horticultural information they can benefit from,” Smith said.
To become a member, interested parties must undergo 40 hours of training and 40 hours of community service. Starting on Feb. 28, the Master Gardeners will hold classes to train future members. According to the Master Gardener’s website, there is a $90 fee to cover the material used during the training.
“Two of our top priorities are to educate others and foster enthusiasm for gardening,” Page said. “I am still learning things myself because of this program.”
Classes will be held from 1-5 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday beginning Feb. 28 at the Crosby Arboretum.