• Sitka gears up for cruise visit from International Master Gardeners Conference on Wednesday, Sept. 11

InternationalMasterGardenersConferenceLogoSitka will be host to 1,100 participants in the International Master Gardeners Conference when the Holland cruise ship Westerdam arrives in port on Wednesday, Sept. 11. The ship is due in port from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Volunteers are needed to assist with local, non-commercial activities related to the conference‘s Sitka stop. Those who have completed a Master Gardener course are especially encouraged to participate. This is a unique opportunity to showcase the challenges and methods used to garden in Sitka as well as interact with Master Gardeners from various locales.

The Master Gardener (MG) program started in Seattle in the 1970s as a way to extend the horticulture resources of Washington State’s land grant university  to the urban horticulture public in Seattle. The Master Gardeners receive 40 hours of training, similar to a basic three-credit-semester-hour, college-level horticulture class.

In return for this low-cost education the MG participants provide 40 hours of service to their community using Cooperative Extension information resources. The MG service may be in food gardening, pest management, youth gardening, tree and landscape care, public gardens, etc. Since the initial Seattle project, Master Gardener programs now exist in every state in the U.S., as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. A Master Gardener course was taught in Sitka in April

For more information or to sign up for a volunteer time slot, please contact the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service Sitka District office at 747-9440 .