What is a Master Gardener Volunteer?
A Master Gardener Volunteer …
- Is an educator conveying research-based gardening information to residents of Santa Rosa County.
- Has an interest in any type of gardening, such as vegetables or ornamentals.
- Wants to share gardening knowledge and skills within the community through extension programs.
- Is trained by UF/IFAS Extension professionals.
- Is willing to donate time to educational projects.
Is the Master Gardener Volunteer Program For You?
To help you decide if you should apply for volunteer training to become a Master Gardener, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I want to learn more about plant care and gardening?
- Do I look forward to sharing my knowledge with people in my community?
- Am I eager to participate in a practical and intensive training program?
- Do I have enough time to attend the training and to complete my volunteer work?
If you answer “yes” to the above questions, the Master Gardener program may be for you!
How Are Master Gardener Volunteers Trained?
Mary Salinas, Residential Horticulture Extension Faculty, coordinates the training program and does the majority of the teaching. The course begins in August each year and runs for 15 weeks. Regional University Extension specialists, Master Gardeners and other horticulture experts teach classes. During the training sessions, these experts will use lectures and hands-on activities to expose participants to the many different aspects of horticulture.
What are the Training Topics?
Some of the topics covered during the training course include: basic botany, entomology, fruit crops, lawns, plant diseases, soils, fertilizers, vegetables and many more.
How do Master Gardeners Volunteer Their Time?
Once the participants enter the training program, it is time to begin volunteer service. Volunteer activities vary according to the county’s needs and the volunteer’s expertise and interest.
How Do I Become a Master Gardener Volunteer?
Master Gardener recruitment and selection takes place in the fall of the year. The trainings are held on Thursdays from 9 a.m. until about 2 p.m. The course runs 15 weeks. Applications must be received by June 1 to be considered for the class the following August.
In order to be considered, please submit the following:
- A completed Master Gardener Volunteer Application
- A copy of your current driver license or state ID card
UF/IFAS Extension staff and some current Master Gardener Volunteers will review each application and interviews of prospective volunteers will be conducted. All applicants will have a background screening according to University of Florida policy.
A class fee of $175 to cover the cost of materials and supplies can be paid when the applicant is accepted for training.