Master Gardener Program Portage

Date: January 21, 2016 - April 28, 2016
Time: 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Location: Wile Auditorium, Kalamazoo RESA Building, 1819 E. Milham Ave. Portage, MI 49002
Contact: Karen Carvell at 269-383-8834 or


We’re pleased you are interested in the MSU Extension Master Gardener Program (MGP) and trust it will be a rich and rewarding experience for you. This class will be held on Thursdays from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Wile Auditorium, Kalamazoo RESA Building, 1819 E. Milham Ave. Portage, MI 49002 from Jan. 21 to April 28The cost of the 14-week program is $300, which includes the 1,000-page training manual.  There are no other out-of-pocket costs. Payments received by check must be received within 10 business days of your registration to secure your place in the class. The last day to submit a check for payment is Dec. 25. The deadline for all registrations and payments by credit card is Friday Jan. 8, 2016.  

Access to World Class Gardening Knowledge. The MSU Extension Master Gardener Program connects gardeners across the state to MSU‘s faculty and resources. Participants have access to information generated at one of the nation’s top plant science teaching and research universities and the chance to use this knowledge to improve their communities and enrich their lives.

Master Gardener volunteers start by completing a 14-session practical curriculum grounded in university research. This training consists of approximately 45 hours of training with classes on plant science, soil science, integrated pest management, diagnostics, annuals and perennials, woody ornamentals, lawns, vegetables, small fruits, tree fruits, household and nuisance pests, indoor plants and gardening practices to protect water quality. Participants must commit to attend all the training sessions and complete all (open book) quizzes and final exam with an overall score of at least 80%. Missed classes (up to two) may be made up by attending class lecture on the same topic offered in other locations. Viewing approved recorded sessions is another make up option but is less engaging for course participants. 

An Opportunity to Serve.  After completing the training, Master Gardener trainees must complete 40 hours of horticulture-related service within one year to earn their MSUE Master Gardener certification. Through these volunteer activities educating others, trainees extend their classroom knowledge to their community. Examples of volunteer projects and service may include: 

  • Working with students to design an elementary school garden
  • Creating a horticulture therapy program at a senior center.
  • Helping a neighborhood association create an urban garden.
  • Staffing plant clinics.
  • Designing and caring for gardens at senior centers, parks and other public sites.
  • Teaching classes on how to garden.
  • Establishing vegetable gardens to meet local nutritional needs.
  • Sharing environmentally-friendly gardening practices at community events.
  • Beautifying community sites for special events or community activities that attract local residents and tourists.

To maintain your certification after your initial certifying year, you will be required annually to complete and report 5 education and 15 volunteer hours as well as complete a 3-step re-certification process (which includes a $20 re-certification fee).


To enroll in the MSU Extension Master Gardening training, please complete the online registration and agreement forms. Payment is required at the time of enrollment. 
Trainees may be interviewed by current Master Gardeners and/or staff prior to engaging in volunteer activities and depending on local requirements, trainees may also be required to undergo a criminal background check before they volunteer. 

Class Cancellation Policy
MSUE reserves the right to cancel any class if the minimum participant levels are not met.  Registrants will receive a full refund as follows and may re-register for a future class:

  • Credit card payments - a credit will be issued to your credit card for the amount paid.
  • Payment by check - MSU will prepare and mail you a check for the amount paid. This process takes about two weeks after the refund has been requested.

Registration and Payments

  • Online registrations must be completed by registration deadline or earlier.
  • In the rare event that a registration is accepted after the due date, an additional $25 fee will be assessed to cover registration processing and the Master Gardener manual shipping costs.
  • Your class slot is not reserved until payment in full is received and processed by MSU.
  • Your registration will be cancelled if payment in full is not received within 10 business days of your registration. 
    • Check Due Date: The last day to submit a check for payment is Dec. 25 to ensure processing prior to the Jan. 8 registration deadline. 
    • Credit Card Due Date:The deadline for all registrations and payments by credit card is Friday Jan. 8, 2016. 
  • You have the option of canceling your Master Gardener training registration at any time.  Refunds will be issued per the Refund Policy.

Refund Policy

  • A full refund, less a $25 processing fee, will be issued for any registration cancelled prior to seven business days before the class start date.
  • No refund will be issued for any registration cancelled within seven business days of the class start date.
  • No refund will be issued for any registration cancelled after the class has started. The MSU Extension Master Gardener Training Manual is for certified Master Gardeners and as such must be returned.

Partial scholarships may be available. There is a scholarship application below that you may fill out to request a scholarship. Scholarship decisions will be made prior to the registration deadline to ensure complete payment can be received prior to the start of the class. Please work witht the coordinator on payment submission if you are awarded a scholarship.

Class Format:
Part or all of the training is offered using distance technology with a connection to another training site. Instructors, who have been selected for their expertise on a specific topic, may not be present in the classroom but will be available via distance technology to answer questions.


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