Master Gardener logo, 800x400 in yellow & green

Master Gardener volunteers help extend gardening knowledge into the community.

Master Gardener Volunteers

What is the Master Gardener Program?

The Master Gardener Program is a national program of trained volunteers who work in partnership with their county Cooperative Extension office to extend information throughout their communities. The first Master Gardener Program was started in Washington State in 1972.

Who Becomes a Master Gardener?

Master Gardeners are people who have some horticultural experience and a sincere desire to share that experience with others. Master Gardeners come from all walks of life - and are united by their enthusiasm for plants and people.

How Do I Become a Master Gardener?

To become a Master Gardener contact Ken Estes, Ag Program Leader at 585-991-5446. You will be asked to fill out an application and come in to the office for an interview. As trainings are announced, you will be notified of their dates and locations. Trainees receive 50 to 75 hours of course instruction on topics such as: plant nutrition, soils, fruit and vegetable culture, care and maintenance of lawns and landscape plants, garden insects, plant diseases, and much more.

What Does A Master Gardener Do?

Master Gardeners are expected to share their horticultural training with the community in the form of 80 hours of volunteer work with Cornell Cooperative Extension over a two year period (50 hours in Year 1; 30 hours in Year 2). Volunteer activities are somewhat flexible. After your initial 80 hours over a two year period, you may continue as a Master Gardener by signing a statement that you will give a minimum of 25 hours of volunteer time over the coming year back to Cornell Cooperative Extension. This pledge becomes an annual event.

Some Activities Include:

  • Put together exhibits and displays
  • Give gardening lectures/demonstrations to outside groups and organizations
  • Teach horticultural classes that are open to the general public
  • Attend monthly Master Gardener organizational meetings
  • Work with 4-H youth and school projects related to horticulture
  • Answer questions and give horticultural advice to clients
  • Attend inservice opportunities on a county, state and regional level

Last updated June 13, 2022