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Orange County's Master Gardener Volunteer Program

Mission: To assist extension agents in providing research based horticultural education to Florida residents.

Vision: To be the most trusted resource for horticulture education in Florida.


The Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a citizen-driven program that benefits UF/IFAS Extension and the residents of Florida. The program relies on dedicated volunteers who have an interest in gardening and in giving back to their communities. Orange County’s Master Gardener Volunteer Program has been serving the citizens of Orange County since 1981.

The Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Program recruits individuals who are interested in gardening and enjoy sharing what they learn with others.  Upon completion of the educational material, candidates then complete 75 hours of volunteering within their first year to become certified as a Master Gardener Volunteer.

Want to become a Master Gardener Volunteer? Click Here!

  • Master Gardener Volunteers' duties

    Certified Master Gardener Volunteers work through their county Extension office to educate Floridians and provide research-based information about gardening—America's most popular pastime. Master Gardener Volunteers can fulfill their volunteer hours in a variety of ways, including:

    • answering horticultural questions over the phone, in person, or through a regular newspaper column
    • participating in community and school garden projects
    • giving educational programs to the public
    • supporting youth activities
    • performing soil sample evaluations
    • certifying Florida-Friendly yards through the Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program
  • Master Gardener Volunteer Training Topics

    Master Gardener Volunteer program participants complete 70+ hours of training sponsored by the University of Florida and the local county Extension office. The training covers the following topics:

    • Annuals & perennials
    • Botany (plant nomenclature)
    • Butterfly gardening
    • Entomology/nematology (insects)
    • Florida-friendly landscape practices
    • Fruit and vegetable gardens
    • Palms
    • Pathology (diseases
    • Plant propagation
    • Safe pesticide use
    • Soil structure
    • Soil testing
    • Tree/shrub pruning
    • Turf care and maintenance
    • Wildlife

    and MORE!

  • Benefits of being a Master Garden Volunteer

    Master Gardener Volunteers enjoy the following benefits:

    • A sense of community amongst likeminded horticulture-friendly individuals.
    • Continuing education opportunities within gardening, pests, natural resources, and much more!
    • The opportunity to attend the Annual Master Gardener Volunteer Continuing Education Conference conducted by University of Florida professors and other Master Gardeners.
    • Receiving twelve issues of the Orange County Master Gardener Volunteer "pH News" Newsletter.
    • The opportunity to attend field trips throughout the state.

Contact Us

headshot of Clarrisa Chairez with braids and blue glasses

Clarissa Chairez  
Extension Faculty
Master Gardener Volunteer Program Coordinator
E-mail: Master Gardener Coordinator, Plant Clinics

Jeannette Mercado
Administrative Assistant
Residential Horticulture
E-mail: Residential Horticulture Administrative Assistant

Gardening Resources