WELCOME! The Master Gardener program is pleased that you are interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer.
How To Become A Master Gardener
- Complete University of Illinois Extension's Master Gardener Application (includes background screening)
- Interview with University of Illinois Extension Livingston, McLean, Woodford Extension Staff
- Register for online or in-person Master Gardener training after your application process is approved
- Online training is available year-round. In-person (or hybrid) training is available every other year.
The Master Gardener training is approximately 60 hours of classroom instruction on basic botany, vegetables, soils, herbs, wildlife control, insects, turfgrass, flowers, diseases, woody ornamentals, fruits, and pesticide safety. After completing the training, Master Gardener graduates hold the title of Master Garden Intern. Interns become Active Master Gardeners once they complete 40 internship hours in a two-year time frame post-graduation. Active Master Gardeners maintain their status through a commitment of 20 hours of volunteer time and 10 hours of continuing education committed to program-related projects. Active Master Gardeners are re-screened every 5 years.
Begin your Master Gardener Volunteer Application Process
We appreciate your interest and look forward to your involvement.
The Master Gardener Application includes background screening. Background screenings are a necessary step in providing protection for program participants and other volunteers. Our screening process includes completion of an electronic criminal background and a registered sex offender check through our partner volunteer system – Sterling Volunteers.
The University of Illinois Extension requires that all volunteers agree to complete the following items of the Master Garden Application:
- Volunteer Application
- An electronic criminal background and registered sex offender check through Sterling Volunteers.
- A child abuse and neglect tracking system check through the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
- Completion of The Abuse and Neglect Child Reporting Act (ANCRA) training.
Please complete the forms for all items listed. (All forms are available below). Return forms, including proof of ANCRA training, to our office as soon as possible. When submitting forms, please contact the staff person listed on this page and they will send you Sterling Volunteers registration information.
The Master Gardener Volunteer Application Process is complete and you qualify to enroll in the Master Gardener Training class, when...
- All forms have been submitted
- Both the electronic criminal background and registered sex offender check have cleared through Sterling Volunteers
- And an interview has been conducted with Extension staff
Interested in becoming a Master Gardener? Contact Kayla Green or 309-663-8306.