Master Gardeners graduate

Next class registers in the fall

2023 Master Gardener intern graduates, from left, front, Annette Crenshaw, Joanna Varner, Corina Diamond, Cynthia Thompson, and Gina Gilbert; back, Craig Jerkins, Carol Holland, Wendell Ray, Ronald Smith, Drake Dalton.

Special to Atmore News

On Tuesday, May 16, the Escambia County Master Gardener interns were honored with a graduation ceremony at the Escambia County Extension office. This spring, there were 10 participants in the Master Gardening training.
Training consisted of 14 weeks of course material including topics like soil and composting, basic botany, integrated pest management, plant care and management, home lawns, vegetable gardening, and plant diagnostics. Following training, interns were required to pass quizzes on the topics presented. In addition to coursework, Master Gardeners provide service to the community. Approximately 25 service hours were completed by each intern with another 25 hours to be completed by the end of the year.
Here is what some of the Master Gardener interns said about their experience:
“The Master Gardener class exceeded my expectations! The classes, videos, labs, and book were a wonderful learning experience. Making some great friends and learning from their vast knowledge was a highlight of my participation.” – Wendell Ray
“As a result of this course, I am more educated in what works best in various parts of my state and why. I also know where to look and who to go to for research-based information. I have more hands-on learning experiences as well as many new friends I can call upon for help and advice that have been a part of this journey with me.” – Joanna Varner
“This has been such a fun opportunity to meet and to learn with others who love plants as much as I do in our community.” – Drake Dalton
“The Master Gardener class has been a wealth of information as well as a learning experience. Meeting new friends and volunteering for different projects has been fun along with the training and teachings of our teacher Jack LeCroy.Thank you for the learning opportunity and the knowledge that I now have.” – Carol Holland
“Awesome experience – both gardening and meeting new people.” – Craig Jerkins
The Master Gardener training is a hybrid course integrating online and in-person learning activities. The course content is developed using research-based horticultural information approved by Auburn University. The objective of the course is to equip volunteers with reliable, research-based, gardening information needed to assist and support Extension’s mission to educate the citizens of Escambia County and the State of Alabama. As the Escambia County Extension Coordinator, it was rewarding and exciting to see a diverse group of individuals come together and to form a team who are armed with research-based information and servants’ hearts. This group will provide a solid foundation on which we can build a future of research-based gardening here in Escambia County.
Registration for our 2024 class will begin in the fall of 2023 with coursework starting in late January or early February of 2024. If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener or just want more information, please reach out to us at the Escambia County Extension Office located at 175 Ag Science Drive in Brewton, or contact us by phone (251)867-7760 or email
As always, Extension programs are open to anyone in the community. If your county does not offer Master Gardening training, we would love to have you in Escambia County, Alabama.