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County offers Master Composter Training
Mecklenburg County offers classes in Landscaping, Naturescaping and MCPLANT as part of Master Composter Training.

January 12, 2004

BIRDS AND BUTTERFLIES:
MAKE YOUR YARD A HOME AND A HABITAT WITH FREE CLASSES

Charlotte, NC - If winter weather is leaving your yard a mess, you aren’t alone. Reshape your yard and make it an oasis for birds and butterflies with free classes offered by Mecklenburg County.   Residents are invited to participate in Master Composters Piedmont Landscape and Naturescape Training or MCPLANT.

The MCPLANT workshops begin in early February 2004 at the Charlotte Nature Museum and are available by application only. Find an application at www.wipeoutwaste.com or call 704-336-5359 to receive one in the mail.

The project will train 25 Master Composter volunteers. All trainees will complete a 12-week training course, including several field trips and hands-on projects. Classes meet Thursday evenings and a few Saturdays. In exchange for the free training, Mecklenburg County asks for specific volunteer time to help with different projects at schools, in neighborhoods, the Southern Spring Show and others as needed. 

Participants learn about:
 
· Composting: Turn leaves, yard clippings and kitchen scraps into rich compost, saving money and enriching your yard and garden.

· Home and Community Soil Stewardship: Managing soils to improve fertility, decrease erosion and protect the environment.

· Toxicity Reduction: Water quality, chemical alternatives and natural methods. Proper use, storage and disposal of lawn chemicals.

· Home yard care: Wise lawn care. Types of grasses and how best to manage them. Grasscycling and lawn alternatives including ground covers, natural areas and mulching.

· Piedmont naturescaping: Landscaping for sustainability and easy, low-cost maintenance using traditional and native plants in the landscape. Groundcovers and mulch. Water-saving strategies and best irrigation practices and technologies (*southern xeriscaping*).

· Habitat and Natural gardening: Natural landscaping techniques that allow for beneficial insects and plants.  Habitat for wildlife and low maintenance beautification of the landscape.

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Media contact: Alex Burnett (O) 704-432-0361 (M) 704-579-0288 or burnear@co.mecklenburg.nc.us or Ann Gill (O) 704-336-5359 or gillda@co.mecklenburg.nc.us




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