Do you have a love for spending hours planting and tending to your backyard garden? Do you have a knack for teaching and enjoy sharing your knowledge with others? If gardening is your passion, and you would like to be part of a team that educates youth and adults alike on the joys of gardening, consider becoming a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener. The mission of the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener program is “Helping Others Learn to Grow.” There are nearly 3,200 Master Gardener volunteers in Illinois. Each year, they reach thousands of people and are a valuable source to many schools, communities, youth programs and farmers markets. Together, they teach classes and workshops, answer telephone inquiries concerning home horticulture, guide planting and educational demonstrations in community and school gardens, represent the program at the county and state fair, and work with many community organizations to convey up-to-date, research based gardening information. To become a Master Gardener, you must apply and be accepted into your local county Extension program. Upon acceptance in your county, you then take the Master Gardener Core Training. After completing the core course, Master Gardeners Interns are required to volunteer a minimum of 60 hours over two years in their community. Certified Master Gardeners are those who have completed their classroom training and internship. To remain an active Master Gardener, you must complete 10 hours of continuing education and 30 hours of volunteer service yearly. Boone County will be having an in-person training this fall, and is now accepting applications. Submitted applications will be reviewed and interviews will be set up with Extension staff. Applicants must complete an application, interview, and screening. The Master Gardener training for 2017 will be offered Fridays, starting September 8 and running through November 17, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Boone County Extension Conference Room located at 205 Cadillac Ct., Suite 5 in Belvidere. In-person training costs $175 and includes the Master Gardener manual with helpful resources and other materials. If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener and would like to register for the program, please contact University of Illinois Extension at 815-544-3710, visit us online at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/bdo or stop by and see us in the Boone County Extension office at 205 Cadillac Ct., Suite 3, Belvidere. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in the program, please contact the Boone County Extension office at 815-544-3710.