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Master Gardeners teach youth about gardening, science and healthy eating

June 21, 2012

U of M Extension Master Gardeners teach summer day campers at the U about the elements needed to make a garden grow.

Laura Opsahl, a Target employee who volunteers as a U of M Extension Master Gardener, helps summer day campers at the U water the bush beans they planted.

Media contact: Catherine Dehdashti, U of M Extension, (612) 625-0237,

ST. PAUL, Minn. (6/21/2012) —University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener volunteers and the University Department of Recreational Sports / Youth Programs are collaborating for the third year to teach 9-13 year olds about the science—and fun—of gardening.

Extension Master Gardeners have designed 10 weeks of activities based on the national Junior Master Gardener curriculum. The University's three-acre Horticulture Teaching Garden on the St. Paul campus serves as the outdoor classroom. Participants are youth in summer day camps through the Department of Recreational Sports.

Throughout the summer, class topics include basic gardening, healthy eating, soil, water conservation, composting, botany, insects and birds, and caring for the environment. The kids planted Kennebec potatoes, onions, and nasturtium seeds, and each took home a pot of bush beans they had planted.

"Young Gopher Adventurers will be busy planting, learning about soil, identifying pests, reading and recording air temperature, rainfall, and even compost temperature," said Weisenhorn. "What better place to learn about gardening than in Goldie Gopher's garden?"

The program is led by volunteer Master Gardener Betsy Massie, with the help of a team of Master Gardeners.

As volunteers, Master Gardeners complete rigorous training and perform at least 25 hours of work in their communities each year providing knowledge-based gardening education and information. For more information on Extension's Master Gardener program, including how to become a Master Gardener volunteer, visit

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