Karen Siddall
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Prairielands GCD, Bluebonnet RC&D, and the City of Cleburne are, once again, collaborating to offer two gardening classes this February and March.  The Master Composter Training Courses are open to any interested adult, 18 years of age or older, and are scheduled to be held February 23, 24, and 25 and March 16, 17, and 18 at the Winston Patrick McGregor Park House, located at 1628 W. Henderson St., in Cleburne (76033).

Each year, nearly four million tons of yard trimmings in the form of leaves, grass, tree limbs, weeds and other organic debris are thrown away in Texas. That amounts to almost 20 percent of all trash in municipal landfills.

In addition, Texans spend more than $300 million each year disposing of yard trimmings, and billions in total yard care costs, including water, fertilizer, and chemicals to combat harmful insects and plant diseases. Costly synthetic fertilizers and pesticides allow chemicals to wash into lakes, streams, and underground water.

Composting is a simple biological process that breaks down leaves, grass clippings, wood chips, brush, and food scraps into a dark, crumbly, nutrient-rich, organic product. It's nature's way of recycling organic matter and returning it to the earth so that it may be used again.

This 14-hour course is designed to give students an in-depth look at composting, including its benefits and challenges. Additionally, students will be introduced to vermi-composting (composting with worms), hands-on bin building, and an understanding of the biology of composting. Students are expected to provide 20 hours of volunteer time back to the community over a 12-month period to help further environmental education. The first 30 students completing their 20 hours of volunteer time for the City of Cleburne will receive a free backyard composting bin.

The fee for the course is $20 per participant and prior registration is required. Class hours are Thursday and Friday, 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. A light lunch will be provided on Saturday. For more information and to registration, contact Paula Burgess, Bluebonnet RC&D, at 817-733-5066. 

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