Share Your Gardening Knowledge
Become a certified Master Gardener
PHOTO BY BETH STETENFELD
Volunteering for a cause or hobby you’re passionate about often brings rewards more gratifying than a paycheck. If you enjoy gardening, the Wisconsin Master Gardener program may be for you.
Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who assist University of Wisconsin–Extension staff—helping people in the community better understand horticulture and the environment. Participants who take the required training and complete their volunteer hour commitments become certified Master Gardeners. They have continuing education opportunities and can join local associations.
Master Gardener volunteers focus primarily on education as it relates to horticulture, plant science and environmental stewardship. To become certified, they must:
- Attend the fifteen-session Master Gardener training
- Pass an open-book, take-home exam with a score of seventy percent or better
- Perform a minimum of twenty-four hours of volunteer service within one year of starting the program
To remain certified, each year they must:
- Perform twenty-four hours of volunteer service
- Complete ten hours of continuing education
In 2013, Master Gardeners in Wisconsin volunteered 194,046 hours to UW–Extension and their communities. In Dane County alone last year:
- Approximately 378 Master Gardeners volunteered 13,423 hours
- The Madison Area chapter awarded $4,978 in grants to support community gardening projects
- Area Master Gardeners participated in “Ask a Master Gardener” educational events at numerous farmers markets, home garden tours and various other events
As author Sherry Anderson said, “Volunteers don’t get paid—not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.”
For more information on the Wisconsin Master Gardener program, visit wimastergardener.org.
Beth Stetenfeld is a McFarland-based editor, writer, master naturalist and creator of the gardening blog PlantPostings.com.