Master Gardener Volunteer Program
Beginning the Master Gardener Program requires only an enthusiasm for gardening and a willingness and commitment to volunteer. Applicants attend training classes to learn basic horticulture principles and environmentally sound practices. Once they complete at least 40 hours of community-based service, they earn the title of certified Extension Master Gardener. Through continued education, knowledge sharing and creation of more livable communities, the MGP continues to make the Great Lakes State one of the most diversely beautiful states in the country.
The original Extension Master Gardener Program was created at Washington State University in 1972. It has grown to include more than 600 programs in 46 states, the District of Columbia and several Canadian provinces. MSU Extension offered its first Master Gardener Program in 1978. Today, more than 30,000 residents from more than 72 Michigan counties have earned and enjoy the Master Gardener Volunteer designation. In 2014, Extension Master Gardeners donated over 164,986 hours to improving their communities. This contribution, valued at more than $3.7 M (based on the value of a volunteer hour as determined by Independent Sector, a coalition of nonprofit organizations) has benefited Michigan’s economy through increased tourism and property values.
The Master Gardener Program serves two major and equal functions:
- To provide instruction in basic, research-based horticulture science to motivated and active gardeners through an adult educational program offered through MSU Extension.
- To provide MSU Extension with trained gardeners who will educate others in the community about environmentally and economically sound practices through horticulture-based volunteer activities.
The MGP’s educational component provides an overview of major horticulture subjects in a classroom setting. Master Gardener Volunteer trainees attend a series of classes that address a minimum of 12 topics that are presented in an 800-page Master Gardener Volunteer manual.
Topics covered in the basic training course are:
- Introduction & Volunteerism
- Plant Science
- Soils for Plant Growth
- Integrated Pest Management
- Annual and Perennial Flowers
- Woody Ornamentals
- Lawn Care
- Vegetable Culture
- Small Fruit Culture
- Tree Fruit Culture
- Indoor Plants
- Household and Nuisance Pests
- Gardening Practices to Protect Water Quality
The Master Gardener trainee’s commitment to volunteering is just as important (if not more so) than the educational component of the course. Trainees have the chance to educate and inspire others in their communities through horticulture activities. Volunteer tasks may include everything from designing an elementary school garden with children, to creating a horticulture therapy program at a senior center, to helping a neighborhood beautification team with site and plant selection.
Upon completion of the educational component and 40 hours of volunteer service, the trainee will receive his or her MSU Extension Master Gardener certification.
November 16, 2015 | Beth Stuever | Michigan residents can help determine where Extension faculty and staff members should place their emphasis.
November 9, 2015 | Rebecca Krans | The Master Gardener class offered in Houghton, Michigan, is open to anyone interested in learning more about the science of gardening. Be sure to register by Nov. 28, 2015.
October 29, 2015 | Rebecca Krans | Carol Fitzgerald’s Master Gardener project of an educational garden surrounding a local library has earned her the 2015 Phil Niemisto Volunteer Award in her community.
October 20, 2015 | Rebecca Krans | Upper Peninsula Master Gardener brings beauty, peace and solace through The Serenity Garden at St. Francis Hospital in Escanaba, Michigan.
August 6, 2015 | Rebecca Krans | The Master Gardener class is open to anyone interested in learning more about horticulture and dedicated to teaching others through a volunteer gardening education project.
July 15, 2015 | Rebecca Krans | Three Upper Peninsula Master Gardener trainees completed the Smart Gardening outreach training and are spreading the environmentally friendly soils, plants, lawns and vegetables message.
May 29, 2015 | Rebecca Krans | Meet Elizabeth Slajus, who is bringing gardening to a summer daycare program in Kingsford, Michigan as part of her training requirements.
May 19, 2015 | Rebecca Krans | Master Gardeners have a passion for gardening and volunteering through community garden education.
March 18, 2015 | Rebecca Krans | It’s not too late to sign up for the Master Gardener Volunteer Program.
March 17, 2015 | Julie Ruemenapp |
Dec 12, 2015 – Jun 11, 2016 | Portage Lake District Library, 58 Huron St., Houghton, MI 49921
Jan 21, 2016 – Apr 28, 2016 | Jackson County MSU Extension Office, 1715 Lansing Ave., Jackson, MI 49202
Jan 21, 2016 – Apr 28, 2016 | Wile Auditorium, Kalamazoo RESA Building, 1819 E. Milham Ave. Portage, MI 49002
Jan 21, 2016 – Apr 28, 2016 | Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Rd., Waterford, MI 48328
Jan 21, 2016 – Apr 28, 2016 | Genesee County MSU Extension Office, 605 N. Saginaw, Suite 1A, Flint, MI 48502