Master Gardener Program

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.

Being in 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.


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