Master Gardener program offers two online training options

For 46 years, University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners have measured success by gardens planted, insects identified, produce harvested, and the millions of hours volunteers have logged by helping others learn to grow.

From farms and small-town to suburbs and the inner city, more than 2,600 volunteers statewide put their mission of “helping others learn to grow” into practice by providing gardening education and outreach in their communities. Take your love of gardening to the next level by becoming a Master Gardener in 2022.

This year, there are two online training options – self-paced or hybrid with live sessions.

“Our online training is a great opportunity for folks who need more flexibility to participate,” said State Master Gardener Specialist Candice Hart. “Both options have self-paced components that can be completed at your own pace.”

Both training options may be taken from the comfort of home on a desktop, laptop, or tablet. Participants will be introduced to in-depth horticulture content through 13 modules including soils and fertilizers, plant diseases, entomology, pest management organic gardening and more. The training includes videos, a manual, reading materials and quizzes. A strong internet connection is highly recommended. The Henry office has a computer lab available for those without internet.

After completing their training, volunteers participate in educational programs in their communities. Those opportunities may include speaking at garden clubs, civic groups, or schools; answering calls or emails at garden help desks; establishing demonstration gardens that serve as educational tools; and educating citizens on how to establish community gardens.

The self-paced course starts October 3 and can be completed in 14 weeks with approximately four to six hours of weekly work. The course costs $300 and registration is open until September 13.

The hybrid course starts September 13 and includes 12 weeks of hybrid online materials and live sessions on Tuesday mornings. The live sessions are attended in-person at the Henry Extension office. The cost of the course is $300, and registration is open until September 1.

Both Master Gardener training programs are coordinated by Extension staff at the county level. For more information or to fill out an application form, contact your local Illinois Extension Office at Residents in Bureau, LaSalle, Marshall or Putnam counties can contact Bettyann Harrison, Master Gardiner & Master Naturalist program coordinator, by calling 309-364-2356 or by email at

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in programming, please indicate when registering. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting participant needs.

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.

The Mission of University of Illinois Extension is to provide practical education you can trust to help people, businesses and communities solve problems, develop skills and build a better future. University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. Visit our website at

If you have questions or need more information, please call University of Illinois Extension- Bureau, LaSalle, Marshall, Putnam Unit Office at 815-224-0889. Extension offices are located in Princeton, Ottawa, Henry and in Oglesby on the IVCC campus.