Master Gardener Volunteers

The goal of the Master Gardener Volunteers at the Charlotte Rhoades Park & Butterfly Garden is to become knowledgeable gardeners and teach others about the plants and butterflies in the garden. They learn how organic gardening, free of chemicals, helps sustain a diversity of plants and beneficial insects, birds, and other wildlife.

They learn to identify caterpillar and butterfly species and their host and larval plants, participate in butterfly counts, learn eradication techniques of invasive plant species, and serve as docents. Master Gardeners also learn from one another through ongoing discussions on any number of topics from plant pests to native plant species.

Master Gardener Volunteers meet weekly during the growing season to help maintain the garden by pruning, planting seedlings, fertilizing, watering, weeding, deadheading, composting, and performing other gardening tasks.

Master Gardeners share their knowledge with a wide range of visitors, including area elementary school students who participate in fall field trips to the garden.

Master Gardeners host the annual Butterfly Release Benefit in July, which provides funds for the operation of the garden.

How do you become a Master Gardner Volunteer? Cooperative Extension offices nationwide offer Master Gardener Programs, which provide participants with at least 40 hours of in-depth training in the art and science of horticulture. Trainees receive current, researched based information from Extension educators and industry experts. In return, trained Master Gardeners volunteer their time and expertise in many ways for community programs like the Charlotte Rhoades Butterfly Garden. Learn more at the Hancock County Extension Office.

Master Gardener Volunteers are recognized as well-trained practitioners who serve and beautify their communities. They are linked to a professional network of support through county, state, and national Cooperative Extension offices.

The Master Gardeners at the Charlotte Rhoades Park invite you to visit the Butterfly Garden to see the Master Gardener program in action, Thursday mornings from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM, April-October.

Contact your local county extension office to learn more about becoming a Master Gardner Volunteer in your area!