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Michigan state university extension

Master Gardener


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What is a Master Gardener?

A Master Gardener is an individual who completes a Michigan State University Extension specialized course in gardening. This person then provides educational leadership to the community in home gardening and landscaping. Master Gardeners help Extension in fulfilling an educational outreach mission by:

  • Staffing gardening hotline
  • Giving talks to local groups
  • Introducing children to gardening
  • Presenting information at garden and trade shows
  • Organizing educational programs and conferences

Educational Requirements

Master Gardener Classes meet for a minimum of eleven weeks. County Extension agents, specialists from MSU, and local gardening experts teach the classes. Students work from a 700-page Master Gardener notebook. The course provides a basic overview of major horticultural subjects while introducing the student to a variety of resources for future reference.

Volunteer Commitment

The Master Gardener training course consists of a minimum of 40 hours of instruction. An equivalent number of community service volunteer hours are required to become a certified Master Gardener. Examples are, working at a telephone hotline, developing educational materials, and staffing a Master Gardener information booth at the county fair. Other hours may be given to activities related to horticulture in the community. Some examples are: designing and planting community beautification projects, working with youth, using horticultural therapy, and working with non-profit organizations. After the first year, volunteers are required to do 15 hours of service and 5 hours continuing education to maintain active status.

Help to Educate Your Community

  • Help gardeners solve their plant problems
  • Promote environmental responsibility
  • Beautify your community by teaching residents about appropriate plants for our climate
  • Work with youth and community gardens

Education for You
  • Monthly education programs
  • Quarterly Master Gardener Newsletter
  • Advanced training on special topics
  • Annual tours
  • Annual conference
  • Enhance job skills and employability

Fun and Friendship

Work with some of the most talented and interesting gardeners in the area and participate in team projects.


The program originated in the state of Washington in 1972 and is now offered in approximately forty-six states and Canada. The first program was held in Michigan in 1978. Since then, approximately fifty-two counties have offered the course in one or more years with a total of over 12,000 people participating.

Call 586-469-6440 for more information or to apply for the Master Gardener Program.


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