Ocean County Press Release
Program Registration Deadline Oct. 11

LAKEWOOD – Individuals interested in training as master composters can participate in the Ocean County Master Composter Training Program scheduled for the fall.

Offered by Ocean County's Department of Solid Waste Management with the support of the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the program will be held Saturdays, Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 to train individuals as master composters. Those who successfully complete the program then go on to assist with the county's efforts in providing residents with information on managing the organic waste they produce in their homes and the benefits of composting.

The 12-hour training program is provided free of charge to interested Ocean County residents and taxpayers. There is a $75 fee for non-residents. The course is limited to 20 participants and the registration deadline is Oct. 11. Registration can be made by calling Mary Jerkowicz, program monitor, at 732-506-5047.

"This beneficial program is offered annually and provides a wealth of important information and hands-on learning on the importance of composting," said Freeholder James F. Lacey, who serves as liaison to Solid Waste Management. "I encourage anyone who is interested to not hesitate to apply, space is limited."

Applicants are encouraged to secure sponsorship by a group or organization, which will ensure an opportunity to set up an outreach network for the program. Various organizations can be considered sponsors such as garden clubs, municipalities, environmental commissions, recycling committees or retirement communities.

The two-day program is held at the county's Recycling Education Center at the Ocean County Northern Recycling Center, here. Sandra Blain-Snow, a member of the Island Heights Garden Club and an Ocean County Master Composter and Master Gardener, is the instructor.

The class runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both dates. Light refreshments and lunch will be provided both days.

"The Master Composter Program is a great way to learn to recycle materials that can be used later in the garden and in other natural settings," said Freeholder Director John P. Kelly. "Master composters have been doing a great job in volunteering their time to help other Ocean County residents interested in composting. This program is a great learning experience and a good way to give back to the community."

All applicants should be familiar with gardening and composting and have some experience with speaking to small groups. Upon completing the program, master composters are asked to provide a total of 24 hours of outreach, education and service to promote the benefits of home composting. There is no time frame to complete the hours.

"The environmental benefits of using compost are significant," Lacey said. "It can help clean up contaminated soil, reduce runoff of toxic materials and improve your garden or lawn."

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