Wednesday, December 28, 2016

NEWS | 3 ways to volunteer with Secrest Arboretum in the New Year

Ohio State Extension

In the coming new year, plant lovers have three official ways to grow with northeast Ohio’s Secrest Arboretum.

One, they can apply for the facility’s 2017 Master Gardening Volunteer course, which costs $150 and runs weekly on Wednesdays from March 15 through May 17. Applications may be downloaded at The deadline to apply is Jan. 27 or until the course has 40 people.

Two, “If you like to garden but don’t want to go through the course at this time, then becoming a Secrest volunteer might be right for you,” said Paul Snyder, who’s a program assistant with the arboretum. Details and a link to apply to volunteer are at

Three, they can join the Friends of Secrest Arboretum, whose members and membership fees further support the facility. Details, too, are at

115 really green acres at OARDC in Wooster

The arboretum is part of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), 1680 Madison Ave. in Wooster.

The center in turn is part of The Ohio State University and its College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

The arboretum’s 115 acres are home to display gardens and collections of shade trees, crabapples, conifers, rhododendrons and heirloom roses, among others. OARDC scientists use many of the collections for research. There are walking paths, a children’s area, and picnic and event facilities, too.

Get ‘intensive’ plant training as Master Gardener

Participants in the arboretum’s Master Gardener training will receive intensive horticulture training on topics such as plant care, landscaping and backyard food production. Then they’ll share what they learn by volunteering with plant-related programs offered by their county Ohio State University Extension office — whether that’s in Wayne County, which is the arboretum’s home, or elsewhere.

The volunteer commitment is 50 hours of service within the first year of completing the training and 20 hours per year afterward.

OSU Extension runs the Master Gardener Volunteer program throughout Ohio, and Master Gardener training is available through all of the organization’s county offices. OSU Extension, too, is part of CFAES.

Snyder said the arboretum began offering Master Gardening training again last year after not having done so for more than 10 years.

Gets hands dirty (or not) as Secrest volunteer

He said the arboretum’s non-Master Gardener volunteers help with activities such as planting, weeding, mulching, pruning, tours and even photography — whatever the person’s interests may be.

For more information, contact Snyder at or 330-263-3761.

Visiting the arboretum, which is about 30 miles west of Akron and 60 miles south of Cleveland, is free and open to the public seven days a week dawn to dusk. Its website is at

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