Two Township Residents Among Newest Crop Of Master Gardeners

Members of the latest Master Gardeners class: top, left to right: Teri Norman, Martinsville; Marie Sereno, Bridgewater; Sharon Wilkinson, Bridgewater; Ellen Walsh, Branchburg; Thomas Reeder, Raritan; Michael Bolton, Branchburg; Anna Abbott, Bridgewater; Tom Fucaloro, Somerset; W “RP” Raghupathi, Somerset; Kathleen Schurzky, Bridgewater. Bottom, left to right: Lisa Cuzzola, Bound Brook; Zena Kelly, Basking Ridge; Valerie Szkodny, Gladstone; Lisa Weinstock; Bridgewater; Lisa Schaffer, Bridgewater; Jill Kline, Hillsborough; Yun Feng, Bridgewater. Photo courtesy Somerset County Rutgers Master Gardeners.

Two township residents were among 17 students who graduated in March from Somerset County’s Rutgers Master Gardener Program.

Tom Fucaloro and  W “RP”  Raghupathi, both of Somerset, were among those completing the 24-week course.

The program consists of in-depth horticultural training covering the study of plant biology, turf, insects, pest and disease control, landscape design, vegetable gardening and the role of native plants in the eco-system, among other topics. The classes are taught by Rutgers University affiliated county agents, faculty and industry professionals.

Future Rutgers Master Gardeners become community educators by promoting the benefits and value of sound horticultural practices through addressing gardening needs.

Following the training, interns are required to complete 100 volunteer hours, which include 50 hours at the Somerset County Rutgers Master Gardener Helpline, a free resource where the public can get their gardening questions answered in person, by phone or email.

Other volunteer activities include: working at Rutgers Snyder Research and Extension Farm, gardening with populations with special needs, supporting community gardens and participating in local outreach events. Rutgers Master Gardeners also volunteer with a Seeds to Salad program at local schools.

The Rutgers Master Gardeners of Somerset County are currently accepting applications for Fall 2018. Classes will be held once a week on Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. from September 2018 to April 2019 at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension office located at 310 Milltown Rd., Bridgewater.

Residents with an interest in gardening and a commitment to volunteer service can become a Rutgers Master Gardener. No previous education or training in horticulture is required. Call 908-526-6293, press option three or visit http://somerset.njaes.rutgers.edu/garden to download the application. The deadline to return the application is June 2, 2018.


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