Master Gardeners

The University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener program is open to adults who are interested in plants and have a desire to share knowledge with their community. There are more than 2,600 Master Gardener volunteers in Illinois. Volunteers must complete training and agree to volunteer at least 60 hours over two years. For more information or to apply in Clark, Crawford, or Edgar County, contact Stacy Woodyard at (217) 826-5422 or Rebecca Schiver at (217) 465-8585.

Registration for the Summer 2022 training ends May 23, 2022. Call today!

Is the Master Gardener program for you?

  • Do I want to learn about plant care and gardening?
  • Do I look forward to sharing my knowledge with my community?
  • Am I eager to participate in training?
  • Do I have time to attend the training and complete the annual volunteer and continuing education requirements?

If you answered “yes” to the above questions, the Master Gardener program could be for you.

What is training like?

In-person training: On-site classes are hosted once a year by local Extension offices. Training dates and length vary. Class sizes may be limited.

Online training: Unable to attend in-person training? An online, self-guided course is available.

A non-volunteer option is also available for those who want to learn, but do not plan on volunteering.

University of Illinois staff provide research-based training that covers a variety of topics:

  • Soils and fertilizer
  • Vegetable gardening
  • Flower gardening
  • Turfgrass care
  • Pests and diseases
  • Tree and shrub care

Where can I volunteer?

After training and certification, Master Gardeners must volunteer 60 hours over two years. They also must attend 10 hours of continuing education.

Volunteers work with Extension staff to identify educational horticulture projects for hours. Opportunities include answering phone or email garden questions; staffing plant clinics or farmers markets; creating demonstration gardens; leading programs with schools and other organizations.

Master Gardeners educate the public on topics such as improving landscapes, creating pollinator habitats, choosing plant varieties, how to save water, pest management, growing fruits and vegetables, tree care, and composting.

Community projects:

Master Gardener projects are as diverse as the communities where volunteers serve. Project examples include:

  • educational garden sites at schools
  • planning time period appropriate landscaping for local historic sites
  • managing a community garden that donates fresh produce to local food pantries
  • leading a workshop for homeowners on environmentally friendly lawn practices

How to become a Master Gardener:

To become a Master Gardener, you must submit an application. There will be a background screening and interview with Extension staff. Once accepted, a participation fee will cover training costs.

Master Gardeners are an integral part of Illinois Extension outreach and are covered by the university’s liability policy. In all their volunteer work, Master Gardeners are expected to follow the recommendations of the university.



These resources will help you learn more about the requirements of earning and maintaining your Master Gardener credential.

Telephone Helpline

Illinois Extension Master Gardeners of Clark, Crawford & Edgar Counties are ready to help you with your home horticulture and gardening questions.  Call the Extension Office at 217-465-8585. Master gardeners provide timely, research-based answers to homeowner's questions.