Becoming A Master Gardener Volunteer
Become a Master Gardener Volunteer
In the Master Gardener Volunteer Program, you receive 36 hours of horticultural training with Cooperative Extension university specialists, faculty, and local experts. The course fee includes instructional materials, which you keep.
To become a certified Master Gardener Volunteer, you must attend designated training sessions, volunteer time to your community equal to the amount of instruction, and pass a final exam. To remain certified, each year you will need to complete 24 hours of volunteer service and 10 hours of continuing education.
What Programs Are Offered?
Level 1 training for new Master Gardener Volunteers starts February11th
Level 2 training for current Master Gardeners
Various programs offered at the local level before the general meetings
Who Can Participate?
Any adult (18 years or older) can participate in the Master Gardener Volunteer Program – no previous experience or training is necessary, although many people have some experience.
What You Can Do as a Master Gardener Volunteer?
In exchange for the training, you are asked to volunteer hours equivalent to the number of training hours received for that year. The following programs offer a sample of the opportunities open to Master Gardener Volunteers:
- Extension demonstration and community gardens
- County and community fairs
- Botanical gardens
- Horticultural workshops and talks
- Horticultural therapy projects
- Farmers’ markets
- Answering telephone inquiries for horticultural information
- Write newspaper gardening columns
- Volunteer at your county Extension office
- Local parks or beautification committees
- Youth groups such as 4-H, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts
Many Master Gardener Volunteers donate their time beyond the required minimum numbers of hours. They volunteer thousands of hours of horticulture-related community service annually.
Cooperative Extension has been helping people solve their agricultural problems since 1913. Extension agents/farm advisors supervised “Victory gardens” during World War I and II and have helped home and community gardeners ever since. Eventually, a voluntary educational program was initiated to teach gardening to people who would then extend the information to others in the community. The first Master Gardener Volunteer Program was started in 1972 in Washington State. Since then, Master Gardener Volunteer Programs have spread to over 45 states and four Canadian provinces, and boasts of more than 45,000 volunteers.
North Central Wisconsin Master Gardener Association
When you graduate from the UW-Extension or other accredited Master Gardener Volunteer Program, you become eligible to join the Wisconsin Master Gardener Volunteer Association. This organization connects you to a statewide network of Master Gardeners. You’ll receive a newsletter that lists gardening events around the state, includes informative articles from area specialists, and details activities of the association and local Master Gardener Volunteer groups. The association sponsors an annual meeting and conference in spring where you can meet fellow Master Gardener Volunteers and attend workshops. The association also provides educational grants to local Master Gardener Volunteer groups for continuing educational program.
The Marathon County Associationhas 65 active members.
We were organized in 1998 beginning with a membership of 6 people meeting at the Marathon County Court House with Elaine Heil-Stark as our first president. In the short time we’ve been together we strive to be the premier source for gardening information in the community. We do this by continually learning and then volunteering our time and sharing our gardening knowledge and enjoyment with other master gardeners and residents in North Central Wisconsin.
Our core community outreach projects include:
- Garden clinic – during the summer months
- Garden line – year round
- Garden Visions
- Teaching garden
Our community outreach projects aim to educate the public about successful gardening practices and help them identify pests and plant diseases.