Starting in October, the St. Croix Valley Master Gardeners will offer a Junior Master Gardener certification program.

The JMG program is an international youth gardening and environmental education program developed by Texas Cooperative Extension.

The program, taught by St. Croix Valley Master Gardeners and other area experts, will be open to Pierce County and St. Croix County youth in third through fifth grade and will meet once a month in River Falls.

The JMG Level 1 core curriculum contains eight chapters with a total of 44 teaching concepts with group activities, individual activities and community service/leadership projects. JMG is designed to engage children in "hands-on" learning experiences with topics including plant growth and development, soils and water, herbs and seeds and ecology and environment.

In addition to the knowledge gained, children can explore their world through meaningful horticultural and environmental science activities that encourage leadership development, personal pride, responsibility and community involvement.

Children who complete the Level 1 program will earn JMG Certification.

For more information, or to register for the Junior Master Gardener program, contact Diana Alfuth, horticulture educator, or Frank Ginther, 4-H youth development agent, at the Pierce County UW-Extension office, 715-273-6781.