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Spring is in the air, and plans are under way for gardening projects in Cass County. Local groups planning beautification, community gardening or education programs will again be eligible for assistance from the Cass County Master Gardeners. The group is offering grant money to be used in the 2018 growing season, to encourage gardening to grow food for education or donation, and/or improve local communities. The money may also be used for gardening education purposes. The Cass County Master Gardener Memorial Grants are offered in remembrance of the many years of service to the community provided by long-time Master Gardener volunteers who have passed.

Any Cass County not-for-profit group may apply. Schools, churches, libraries, 4-H clubs, Scouts, or other organizations/individuals working to improving their communities can apply for money to begin or improve gardens or landscaping for community benefit, or to provide education for their members or the public. To ensure the money is helping a wide variety of community organizations, those who were funded by 2017 grants will not be eligible to apply in 2018. Each grant has a maximum value of $300. Applications must include plans for teamwork and sustainability. Consideration for the environment is also an important factor in selection.
 
Applications must be received by Tuesday, April 24 for consideration. They may be submitted by mail or email. Grant recipients will be informed of their selection by May 1. For more information, or with questions, call the Cass County Extension office at 712-243-1132, email keolson@iastate.edu, or stop by the Extension Office at 805 W. 10th St in Atlantic. You may also contact Master Gardener Donna Reimers. Application forms can be picked up at the Extension Office, or printed from the Cass County Extension website- www.extension.iastate.edu/cass.

The Master Gardener program trains volunteers to develop their knowledge and skills in horticulture. These volunteers then give back to their communities through gardening service and education. The program is available in all 50 states and Canada through land grant university Extension programs such as Iowa State University Extension. Education courses are available throughout Iowa on a regular basis. For more information on the program, contact Cass County Extension Program Coordinator Kate Olson, at 712-243-1132 or keolson@iastate.edu.