Community Projects

Champaign County Master Gardener projects are approved projects that fulfill a community need and allow our volunteer educators to "help others learn to grow".  Read below for more information about our community projects or click here to view the video.

Crisis Nursery

The Crisis Nursery garden creates an "Island of Safety" dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect by providing 24-hour emergency care for children and support to strengthen families in crisis. The garden provides a safe haven for children at Crisis Nursery and introduces them and their parents to gardening.




Juvenile Detention Center Garden

The Champaign County Juvenile Detention Center Master Gardener Community Garden is a year round educational program targeted to at risk youth ages 12-17 that are remanded at the Champaign County Juvenile Detention Center (JDC).  The JDC garden has two educational goals:  

  • To provide didactic and interactive lessons on gardening, healthy eating, horticulture, related career ideas, nature, and environmental stewardship.
  • To provide hands-on gardening experience for the youth.  

Click here to view the JDC Video.

Idea Garden

Located on the University of Illinois Arboretum in Urbana, the Idea Garden is considered a local jewel among the community.  

Click here to visit our Idea Garden website and for details about each border and corresponding plant lists.

Senior Grow Box Gardens

The Senior Grow Box Gardens works to provide seniors with the opportunity to produce their own vegetables despite limited mobility, space, and tools. The Senior Grow Box Gardens works with seniors at local assisted living facilities such as Youman Place in Rantoul.

Garden Walk

Each year the Champaign County Master Gardeners host a Garden Walk within the Champaign-Urbana community. Master Gardeners select 6 homeowners to be featured on the Garden Walk. The Master Gardener Garden Walk highlights the impact a large group of volunteers can have upon a community and showcases the talents of Master Gardeners and home gardeners.

Click here for more information about Garden Walk.

Yingying's Garden

The University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners welcome returning and new students to the Urbana Champaign campus! As students and faculty go forth with their busy days, we welcome them to stop by Yingying's Garden. The 600 square foot garden is at the corner of North Goodwin Avenue and West Clark Street in Urbana. This "healing garden" was dedicated to Yingying Zhang, a talented visiting Chinese scholar who went missing June 9th 2017. This calming space is filled with plants and shrubs representing beauty, remembrance, friendship, and new beginnings. 

For a list of the plants in the garden, along with a description of a cultural meaning of the plant to explain which it was chosen for the garden, click here to access the file.

Horticulture Hotline

The horticulture hotline is a community service that Master Gardener programs provide across the nation.  Individuals can call or stop by any Extension office to leave a plant ID or disease question and to receive management advice.  Volunteers will diagnose your question and return your inquiry with a research-based answer.  

Click here to submit a question to Champaign County Master Gardeners online.

The University of Illinois Plant Clinic can also:

  • diagnose plant and insect identification,
  • diagnosis of disease, insect, and weed problems,
  • provide nematode assays, and
  • help with nutrient related problems

Contact them at, 217-333-0519, or stop by Turner Hall at 1102 S. Goodwin in Urbana.

Other Community Projects 

Champaign County Master Gardeners volunteer opportunities also include:

  • Allerton Park and Recreation Center Shade Garden and Tours
  • Hartley Trials at the UIUC Arboretum
  • Hosta Garden at UI Arboretum
  • Leonhard Recreation Center
  • Red Oak Rain Garden
  • Speakers Bureau
  • Tree Walks
  • UI Plant Biology Greenhouse
  • Citizen Science
  • Farmers Markets and other Champaign County Events