Gardening & Environmental Education

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News and events:

Explore Gardens and Castles of England
July 7-16, 2016

Join MSU Extension Horticulture experts Mary Wilson and Rebecca Finneran on an excursion through England this summer!!  This exclusive garden adventure will take place July 7-16 and will feature the finest English gardens, castles and countryside just “across the pond”. Your trip includes many “extras” including the Hampton Court Flower Show, Tea at the RHS Wisley Gardens, Sissinghurst and Hever Castles and much more.  Joining our hosts, a professional travel guide will make the journey pleasurable and fact filled. We will also be joined in two fo the gardens by a local expert. Who could ask for more?  Click here to download a brochure. For more questions, contact Conlin Travel, Mary Steils at (734) 677-0900 or e-mail her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Support the Grand Ideas Garden with a Brick Donation (Brick Order Form
If you are interested in supporting the Grand Ideas Garden, you can order them by downloading the brick order form. Inscribed bricks are available in two sizes:

  • $50 - 4"x8” (up to three lines, 13 characters each line)
  • $100 - 8"x8” (No Logo, up to 78 characters, up to three lines, 13 characters each line)

Master Gardener Program - This class will be held on Tuesdays from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Kent County MSU Extension Office, 775 Ball Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI  49503 running from August 30, 2016 to December 13, 2016.  The cost of the 14-week program is $300, which includes the 1,000 page training manual.  There are no other out-of-pocket costs.  The registration deadline for this training class is August 7, 2016 for payment by check and August 14, 2016 for payment by credit card.  To enroll in the MSU Extension Master Gardening training, please complete the online registration and agreement forms.  Payment is required at the time of enrollment.  To register, go to: http//events.anr.msu.edu/mgpgr16.  For further information about the program, the training and certifying as an MSU Extension Master Gardener, view: 2016 Master Gardener Class

If you have questions or would like to be placed on the 2016 waiting list, please contact Adriane Land, the West Michigan Master Gardener Program Facilitator at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or (616) 632-7880.  We hope you can be a part of this wonderful training in Fall 2016!

Educational opportunities:

Master Naturalist

2016 MSU Extension Master Naturalist program in Kent county is Full

There is a waiting list for the 2017 class if you would like to participate. If interested in being on the 2017 waiting list, please complete the following registration form for either the Kent or Ottawa County program.

Being on the waiting list means you will receive the 2017 Master Naturalist brochure and registration materials earlier than the general public (around the beginning of March 2017). If you do not place your name on the 2017 waiting list, you may still register for the Master Naturalist program after March 24, 2017.

What is the Master Naturalist Program?

Extension Master Naturalist program is similar to the Extension Master Gardener program only with a focus on conservation and the environment. The Master Naturalist program consists of:

  • A series of six classes offered on six Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. during April through September.

KENT COUNTY Master Naturalist Program consists of the following classes:

  • Overview of Conservation Theory and Practice
  • Native Plants and Woodland Wildflowers
  • Native Trees and Shrubs
  • Michigan Wetland Habitats
  • Prairie Environments
  • Invasive Plant Species

Each class location varies, but all locations are considered nature setttings around the Grand Rapids area.

OTTAWA COUNTY Master Naturalist Program consists of the following classes:

  • Overview of Conservation Theory and Practice
  • Native Plants and Woodland Wildflowers
  • Native Trees and Shrubs
  • Lakes and Rivers
  • Invasive Plant Species
  • Dunes

Each class location varies, but all locations are Ottawa County Parks and Open Space properties.

Interested in certification as a Master Naturalist?

  • Complete 25 hours of education (six classes)
  • Complete 30 hours of volunteering in an approved conservation setting
  • Pass a take home final exam

If you have any questions regarding the Master Naturalist program, please contact Ginny Wanty at 616-632-7873 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Environmental Education

2016 Master Naturalist Supplemental Classes

These classes do not cover the same material as offered in the basic Master Naturalist program, but are additional Master Naturalist program topics.

All these classes are open to the public as well as Master Naturalists.

  • Frogging for Amphibians, Saturday, May 7 from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM; Instructor: Ray Gates; Location: Cornerstone University Zooloy Lab & pond somewhere in Rockford.
  • Butterflies, Caterpillars & Moths - getting them to stay instead of flying by on Saturday, July 23 from 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM; Instructor: Carolyn Miller; Location: Kent/MSU Extension Office.
  • Great Lake Issues and Ecology on Saturday, August 20 from 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM; Instructor: Dan O’Keefe; Location: Grand Haven Library and Lake Michigan (aboard the Annis Water Resource Institute’s DJ Angus).
  • ID That Tree!  On Saturday, August 27 from 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM; Instructor: Dr. Rob Keys; Location: Cornerstone University & Provin Park (a Kent County Park)

Please click here to download the 2016 MSU Extension Master Naturalist
Supplemental Classes one-page flyer and registration information.

Volunteer opportunities:

2016 Master Gardener Volunteer Opportunities

Kent/MSU Extension “Grand Ideas Garden” (GIG) 
ProjectHands on work in the GIG - see VMS Calendar for dates and times
Location: Kent/MSU Extension Office, 775 Ball Avenue NE, Grand Rapids
Contact:  Daniel Davis .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (616) 813-5659

Blandford Nature Center
Project: Educate CSA (Community Supplied Agriculture) farm members about value of composting, process of growing vegetables, value of food gardening, etc. at a one day event the last weekend in May.
Location: Blandford Farm - 1715 Hillburn Avenue NW, Grand Rapids
Contact: Aaron Snippe: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); (616) 735-6240

Habitat for Humanity
Project: Educate on rehab and development of “challenging” urban lots using practical and “do-able” approach.
Location: HFHKC offices, 425 Pleasant Street SW, Grand Rapids.  Urban lots primarily NW and SW Grand Rapids
Contact: BriAnne McKee www.habitkent.org  (269) 377-7570

Grand Rapids Public Museum
Project: Plant and maintain smaller educational gardens on the grounds of the Public Museum.  Develop identification signage to educate adult and school-age visitors.  Partnering effort with Kent Garden Club.  May-October

Location: Grand Rapids Public Museum at 272 Pearl Street NW, Grand Rapids
Contact: Joseph Landmichl .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); (616) 929-1717
 
Holland Community Garden - food for low-income families
Project:  Provide hands-on instruction and education to community members of all ages.  Emphasis is on explaining the “hows” and “whys” along with ideas and techniques for gardening.
Work Sessions: April to October on Wednesdays and Saturdays
Location: Holland Community Garden - behind the Macatawa Resource Center at 665 136th Street, Holland
Contact: Barry Anderson  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); (616) 399-5117
Salvation Army Kroc Center
Project: Kroc Community Center - Assist community members of varying experience levels to garden in (24) raised beds.  Time period is May-November, need 3-4 Master Gardeners to consult with gardeners and answer questions during two events.
Location: Kroc Center Outdoor Campus, 2500 S. Division Avenue, Grand Rapids
Contact: Heidi Roberts  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); (616) 588-7200
Spectrum Health Continuing Care - Fuller Campus
Project: Develop and maintain on-site gardens for the education and enjoyment of long-term care residents and their families.  Work with Occupational Therapy to develop ‘Garden Talk’ for residents.  Need 3-4 Master Gardeners able to commit to 1-2 hours per week.  This is a long-term project.
Location: 750 Fuller Avenue NE, Grand Rapids
Contact: Marnie Kotwick  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); (616) 915-2838
Byron Center Community Center - Indoor 4-H Gardening Volunteer
Project: Lead elementary-aged students through the Junior Master Gardener Curriculum to learn about pollinators, building insect hotels, seed bombs, wildflowers and more.  Lessons and craft projects will take place indoors; however, students will also learn about preparing and planning an outdoor garden.  Curriculum and supplies will be provided.
Work Sessions: Volunteers are needed each Wednesday, from 5:45-6:30 p.m., from May 4 through June 1.
Location: Byron Township Community Center, 2120 76th Street SW, Byron Center, MI  49315
Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association - Beautification Contest
Project: Offer two instructional classes to area residents who want to participate in the neighborhood beautification contest.  Class content to include very basic soil and plant science as they relate to healthy gardens; plant selection (right plant - right place); mulching; irrigation; basic gardening tips and techniques.  Classes will be held at the Association offices or at Cook Library.
Work Sessions: Two, 1.5 hour classes, ideally late April/early May.  Possible continuing help with area residents
Location: Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association, 1260 Grandville Avenue, Grand Rapids, MI  49503
Contact: Julie Niemchick; .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); (616) 243-2489
Byron Center Community Garden Volunteer
Project: Assist elementary-aged students to plant and care for a community garden of herbs, vegetables and flowers.  The Junior Master Gardener curriculum helps youth to learn sound horticultural practices while engaging in fun, hands-on lessons.  All supplies will be provided.
Work Sessions: Volunteers are needed weekly in June and July
Location: Byron Township Community Center, 2120 76th Street SW, Byron Center, MI  49315
Northpointe Christian School
Project: Launch the Junior Master Gardener Program - Learn, Grow, Eat & Go!  Lead early elementary students (kindergarten through Grade 2) through the Junior Master Gardener curriculum.  Help students learn about plant science, sound gardening practices, nutrition and healthy eating habits.  Curriculum and supplies will be provided.
Work Sessions: Volunteers are needed for weekly, half-hour sessions starting the last week of April, continuing through the last week of May.
Location: Northpointe Christian Elementary School, 540 Russwood Street NE, Grand Rapids, MI  49505
Ottawa County - Herrick District Library North Branch
Project: Provide assistance with the creation of a community garden at Herrick District Library.  Provide input with design and layout; teach participants basic gardening practices; organize adult and youth volunteers, ages 5-19.  This is an ongoing, long-term project; work will begin in April and continue throughout the growing season.
Work Sessions: Volunteers are needed on a weekly basis; scheduling is flexible.
Location: Herrick District Library North Branch, 155 Riley Street, Holland, MI  49424
United Church Outreach Ministry - Square Foot Gardening
Project: Teach adults with varying abilities how to garden, in raised bed containers.  Work will include planting, maintenance and harvest and be completed in UCOM’s hoop house.
Work Sessions: Prefer mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and some evenings, but can be flexible.  Closed Saturday and Sunday.
Location: 1311 Chicago Drive SW, Wyoming
Contact: Trisha Belbot, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), (616) 241-4006
Master Gardener/4-H Youth Focused Volunteer Opportunities
Ada Parks and Recreation Department, Kid’s Garden 4-H Program
Location: Ada Parks and Recreation Building, 1180 Buttrick Avenue, Ada
Project: Junior Master Gardener Lead Instructor
The Junior Master Gardener (JMG) Certification program is an additional option for youth.  This will consist of 8 meetings (spread out over spring, summer and fall within the time frames listed below), and be based on the activities in the JMG Level 1 Handbook.  You will be the lead on this program and have the assistance of the Ada Children’s Garden Coordinator.  A willingness to teach new skills, facilitate educational activities and present to small groups is a must.  This position involves working directly with youth.  4-H will provide any educational/planning assistance as needed.  Specific dates are TBD.
Project: Junior Master Gardener Program Assistant
Assist the Ada Village Kids’ Garden Coordinator for one or more seasonal sessions (dates/times listed below).  Volunteer(s) must have a willingness to teach new skills, facilitate educational activities, assist the Garden Coordinator as needed, and be comfortable working directly with youth.  Master Gardener is encouraged to attend all days, but is not a requirement.  This Master Gardener will also be responsible for filling in for the Ada Kids’ Garden Coordinator in the event that she cannot be present.
  • Spring Session: April 19-June 7 on Tuesdays from 4 -6 p.m.
  • Summer Session: June 14-Aug. 9 on Tuesdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Fall Session: Aug. 23-Oct. 11 on Tuesdays from either 9 a.m.-1 p.m. or 4 - 6 p.m. (dependent on school days)
  • Junior Master Gardener Certification Session: requires eight meeting dates (TBD) between April 19 and October 11 (these dates will take place during the times listed above)

Project: Guest Speakers!
If you have a topic of expertise, or interest and would like to share with youth, this is for you!  Possible topics include worms/vermicomposting, bees and pollinators, insects (pest vs. beneficial), soil, organic gardening, etc.  Presentations must incorporate an educational component and are encouraged to be hands-on.  Presentations can take place outside in the garden or inside with access to a projector/screen and a kitchen.

Chandler Woods Charter Academy
Project: Provide assistance with a sustainable gardening project to teach students about maximizing gardening conditions, plants, beneficial insects and garden maintenance.  This is an ongoing, long-term project.
Location: Chandler Woods School, 6895 Samrick Avenue NE, Belmont

For all 4-H opportunities, contact: Susan Fenton, 4-H Program Coordinator; .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); (616) 994-4543

Rebecca’s Blog

Rebecca

Visit Rebecca Finneran’s blog at MyFavoriteGardenShops.com

Master Gardener Links

Master Gardener Class

This class will be held on Tuesdays from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Kent County MSU Extension office, 775 Ball Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI  49503 running from August 30, 2016 to December 13, 2016.  The cost of the 14 week program is $300, which includes the 1,000 page training manual.  There are no other out-of-pocket costs.  The registration deadline for this training class is August 7, 2016 for payment by check and August 14, 2016 for payment by credit card.  To enroll in the MSU Extension Master Gardening training, please complete the online registration and agreement forms.  Payment is required at the time of enrollment.  To register, go to:  http://events.anr.msu/mgpgr16.   For further information about the program, the training and certifying as an MSU Extension Master Gardener, please click on the link: 2016 Master Gardener Class

If you have questions or would like to be placed on the 2016 waiting list, please contact Adriane Land, the West Michigan Master Gardener Program Facilitator at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or (616) 632-7880.  We hope you can be a part of this wonderful training in Fall 2016!

Request for Volunteers

Grand Ideas Garden

Follow Grand Ideas Garden on Facebook

Volunteer Sessions in the GIG

If you would like to visit the Grand Ideas Garden you may use one of the following links for a map.
775 Ball Ave., Grand Rapids, MI 49503