Newly inducted gardeners will spruce up Middlesex County

Middlesex County’s Office of Extension Services has officially inducted 45 Master Gardeners.

“Since 1984, nearly 8,000 residents statewide have been trained through the Master Gardener program,” Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios said of a graduation ceremony held Feb 18 in Middlesex County. “Middlesex County’s program is among the most active in the state, and we congratulate our graduates and newest members.”

Master Gardeners are community volunteers trained in earth-friendly gardening and environmental principles. In Middlesex County, there are almost 250 active Master Gardeners assisting the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County staff and faculty in various capacities, including the dissemination of research-based information at community events, conducting workshops, answering garden inquiries on the “Helpline” and managing various demonstration and display gardens.

The local gardeners include Debbie Antosh of Marlboro; Stacy Approvato and Susann Joski of North Brunswick; Kathryn Berish of South Amboy; Anne Marie Cerankowski of Monroe; Rachel Collier and Kimberly Curtis of Parlin; Monica Dobbs, Evelyn Fuertes, Laurie Hart and Krisantia Ritzdorf of Metuchen; Brianna Hall of South River; Karen Kellerman of Laurence Harbor; Susanne Klein of Matawan; Theresa Kinlan of Long Branch; Grace Kosmyna and Stephanie Rudd of Old Bridge; Peter LaFrance of Freehold; Joseph Majka of Colonia; Dawn Milburn and Scott Shapses of Milltown; Linda O’Brien of Spotswood; Sharon Sayegh and Sal Siciliano of East Brunswick; an Francesca Gervasi and Gayle Schlett of Edison.

In Middlesex County, the training portion of the Master Gardener program lasts for one year. The program begins and ends in September with weekly classes from fall to spring, followed by hands-on activities in the vegetable and herb gardens during the growing season. Middlesex County has a day program on Friday mornings and an evening program on Thursdays.

“Our Master Gardeners help us protect the beauty and environmental health of Middlesex County,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, chair of the county’s Business Development and Education Commission. “We thank our volunteers for sharing their education and knowledge with our residents.”

The county’s Extension Office is part of a nationwide network that brings the research of the state land-grant universities to local people. Rutgers Cooperative Extension offices throughout New Jersey are cooperatively funded by the county Board of Chosen Freeholders, Rutgers University-New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For more information about the Master Gardeners, call 732-398-5260.

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