Master Gardener Program offers new training options

DECATUR, Ill. – You don’t have to be a gardening expert to become a Master Gardener. All you need is an interest in gardening, a willingness to volunteer in the community, and a desire to share your knowledge with others. The program is about connections: connecting people with other gardeners, their community, and reliable resources for information. Once connections are forged, it’s time to get sowing and growing in our many meaningful community projects.

The mission of the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener program is “Helping Others Learn to Grow.” After training in topics such as vegetable and flower gardening, insect problems, and plant diseases, the volunteers participate in programs such as establishing food donation and demonstration gardens; educating citizens on how to establish community or youth gardens; answering calls or emails at garden help desks; and speaking at garden clubs, civic groups, or schools.

University of Illinois Extension DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties offers several ways to participate in Master Gardener training: online self-paced training, a hybrid ‘flipped classroom’ style, and in-person training in fall 2022. 

Participants can begin self-paced online training in January, May, or September. Each module consists of several videos and an online quiz; therefore, a strong internet connection is highly recommended. Set aside about 4 hours per week for videos, reading the manual, and completing quizzes, and the training can be completed. Registration for the winter online class is open through January 8, and classes must be completed within 14 weeks. 

A new, hybrid training offering a mixture of independent study and live, virtual training with educators begins in February. Coursework will be available online, and live classes will be held on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon and will include a short lecture, discussion, and activity. Registration is open now through February 10 for the hybrid training, and classes will begin February 15. 

For more information, connect with your local University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator Sarah Vogel in Macon County at 217-877-6042, or Program Coordinator Beth Miglin in DeWitt County at 217-935-5764 and Piatt County at 217-762-2191.

Visit to read more about the program.  

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact 217-877-6042. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting your access needs.

Writer: Sarah Vogel, Horticulture Extension Educator, University of Illinois Extension

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.