Do you value education, love gardening, and like to volunteer?
“Wonderful way to meet people with similar interests while doing
something you enjoy.” – Kathy
“I am so grateful to have been able to attend this class.” – Janet
Join the Master Gardener Team!
Learn about Plant Diseases
Experiential Learning Environment
Volunteer with Classmates
To become a Master Gardener, you must fill out and submit an application. After the local coordinator reviews the application, and it is time to recruit for class, you will be asked for an interview. Acceptance of trainees will be based on an established need for local Master Gardener volunteer activities.
Take the first step and apply online or you can download, print, and mail the application. (If you choose to mail, please send the application to Jenney Hanrahan at Vermilion Co.- University of Illinois Extension Office, 3164 North Vermilion, Danville, IL 61832). Next Training is Winter 2022.
Once you submit this interest form,
- The Master Gardener Program Coordinator will contact you for a meeting.
- When accepted into the program, you will be asked to complete volunteer screening paperwork (required documents below) as required by the State Master Gardener program.
- You will then receive the final registration and course information. The fee is $200 for hybrid and $300 for online. Financial assistance may be available.
- Classes and 60 hours of volunteer time are mandatory in order to become a certified active Master Gardener. Volunteer time can be completed and reported within 2 years of taking the course.
- To maintain certification in subsequent years, you must complete and report 10 hours of continuing education and 30 hours of volunteer activities annually.
Once accepted, all Master Gardener trainees are required to complete a full, confidential background check. This includes completion of the Volunteer Application, an interview, a volunteer agreement form, a DCFS CANTS check, a Sterling Background check, and a name check against the National Sex Offender Website. Trainees must also complete a required Child Protection Course.
To complete the application process volunteers must complete:
- Illinois CANTS Form (pdf)
- Master Gardener Volunteer Agreement (pdf)
- Risk and Release Form (pdf)
- Reply to Sterling Background Check emailed to you.
Active/Certified Master Gardeners
- Master Gardener Annual Agreement
- Report Master Gardener Volunteer Hours - Online
- Renewed background check paperwork every 5 years.
To Report Volunteer Hours
Volunteer Training Options
Our next Master Gardener volunteer training will take place in 2022. Please feel free to fill out an interest form in the meantime and we will reach out to you when we are interviewing for class. We cannot guarantee all these options will be available next year.
- Face-to-face training: In-person classes are typically held once a week for 11 weeks, commonly beginning in January. Attendance of all classes is mandatory. Training dates and locations will vary. Classes are taught by live instructors in a classroom or outdoor setting.
- Hybrid training: In this flipped classroom-style training, trainees have at least 4 hours of independent study to do prior to the weekly session. During sessions, trainees participate in a live presentation presented by Extension Educators. Then trainees work in small groups to discuss case studies and hands-on activities. Some classes may take place via zoom. Field trips are planned to community gardens and local greenhouses. The Hybrid class fee is $200 and spots may be limited. Seats are reserved upon receipt of payment and registration forms which includes a background check.
- Online training: For those unable to attend the traditional face-to-face training, an online, self-guided course is available to take from the comfort of home at your own pace.
- The online course is currently offered locally in Winter and Summer.
- A non-volunteer option is also available for those interested in learning the great content from our training course, but don't intend to become a Master Gardener volunteer.
- Read more about the online training program on the course welcome page
What will you learn? Classes are taught by University of Illinois specialists and Extension educators. Topics include botany, soils, vegetables, fruits, flowers, trees and shrubs, grasses, landscaping, insects, and diseases.