Are you ready to take your love of gardening to the next step?
The mission of the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener program is “Helping Others Learn to Grow.” University of Illinois Extension uses trained Master Gardener volunteers to meet the increasing demand for horticulture information by residents and community organizations. The role of the Master Gardeners is to share unbiased, reliable, research-based information with home landscapers and gardeners and encourage young people to enjoy flower and vegetable growing. Volunteers are required to report to their local Master Gardener coordinator about all planned activities prior to the event. Most volunteer work is conducted in the local counties and some projects can involve interagency connections with schools, parks, nursing homes, and other organizations.
Anyone can become a Master Gardener. You do, however, need to:
- Have some knowledge and interest in gardening or landscape management (you do not need to be an expert)
- Be willing to learn about horticulture and share this knowledge with others
- Be willing to volunteer time to local projects coordinated through your local Extension office
It is up to your local county which type of training format they are planning to offer.
- Face-to-face training: In-person classes are typically held once a week for 11 – 12 weeks. Attendance is mandatory. Training dates and locations will vary from county to county. Classes are taught by live instructors or via live webinar presentations. The cost for this course is determined by the local coordinator.
- Hybrid training: This training is a combination of in-person hands-on classes held once a week and self-guided online content. Attendance is required for the in-person classes. The cost for this course is determined by the local coordinator.
- Online training: This is a completely online, self-guided course that can be taken from the comfort of home at your own pace. The online course is currently offered three times a year in winter, summer, and fall. A non-volunteer option is also available for those interested in learning the great content from the training course, but don’t intend to become a Master Gardener volunteer. Please note, you may not use the title of Master Gardener volunteer after completing this option. If you change your mind and would like to volunteer after the training, that will need to be arranged with local Extension staff. The cost for the online training is $300.
To be an active Master Gardener, you must remain current in annual educational updates - a minimum of 10 hours, and volunteer service hours - a minimum of 20 hours, required by the local program. Thank you for all you do for your communities!