Master Gardener Program

Program Contact: Cori Carlton, Master Gardener & Master Recycler Composter Program Manager
(360) 867-2162 •

Come Grow with the WSU Master Gardeners of Thurston County

A volunteer service gardening organization – cultivating plants, people, and communities since 1973.

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Summer Gardening Programs for Children Ages 4-12 Years Old


Join us for summer fun and hands-on learning in the Dirt Works Children’s Garden!

WSU Master Gardener volunteers teach children gardening and environmental science education through fun and creative activities. Activities are designed to promote a love of gardening, develop an appreciation for the environment, and cultivate the mind.


The bounty raised from the garden will be donated to the Thurston County Food Bank and flowers given to local nursing homes.

Parents or guardians must accompany children at all times during the program.

This program is designed for individuals, NO large groups (i.e. day cares, youth groups, youth camps etc.)


2017 Program Schedule & Themes:

Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

  • July 18th- Sensational Seeds
  • July 25th- Vermi-“wormy”-Compost
  • August 1st- Fabulous Flowers
  • August 8th- Bodacious Bugs
  • August 15th- Garden Birds
  • August 22nd- Rainbow Gardening

To Register:

Programs are free but we ask that you please register so we can better prepare and serve you. Space is limited. Please download and complete the following participation form/waiver.

Garden Participation Form 2017

You can email the completed form to OR bring it with you to the program you plan to attend. Everyone must complete a participation form/waiver to attend. You only need to complete this form once, even if you attend multiple classes.








WSU Master Gardener Program




Next to digging in the dirt, there’s nothing gardeners enjoy more than learning about their favorite plants. An easy way to increase your gardening knowledge is to join the next WSU Extension Master Gardener volunteer training course. For forty-three years, WSU Extension has been training Master Gardener volunteers in the science and art of gardening.

Instructors provide an overview of related subjects and environmentally sound practices including: vegetables, ornamentals, soils, pruning, water-wise gardening, weeds, composting, plant disease diagnosis, insects etc. A WSU Master Gardener volunteer gains more than improved gardening skills. The Thurston County WSU Master Gardener volunteer training also focuses on skill building to support volunteers in better serving our community. The fast-paced coursework involves expanding communication skills, team dynamics, problem-solving, project leadership, risk management, technology and more.

There is a misperception that to become a WSU Master Gardener volunteer you must know everything about gardening.

“What really sets them apart from other home gardeners is their commitment to lifelong learning and sharing of accurate gardening information with others. Trainees join more than 200 volunteers who have diverse expertise and interests. As a result volunteers have fun learning from one another while making friendships and a difference in our community,” said Cori Carlton, Program Manager.

On completion of classroom work, graduates volunteer 60 hours on community-based garden service projects before earning the WSU Master Gardener title. You have up to 2 years to complete this service.

2017 WSU Thurston County Master Gardener Training Details

The 2017 WSU Thurston County Master Gardener volunteer training is already in progress and full. To have your name added to the 2018 interest list please email program manager, Cori Carlton at

2018 training information will be posted here on our website after October 1, 2017.

For questions please contact Cori Carlton, Program Manager at 360-867-2162 or email

Do You Have a Gardening Question?

Do you have a plant eaten-up by bugs or diseases? Maybe you have a plant or weed you cannot identify? Or, you have a spot in your garden and you need advice on what to plant? That’s where the WSU Master Gardener volunteers of Thurston County can help. Come visit one of our Gardens or Clinics for the answers.

West Olympia Gardening Question/Answer Clinic
5033 Harrison Ave. NW
Olympia, WA 98502
(360) 867-2163

Hours of Operation:

  • February – May and September – November the clinic is open Tuesday & Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • June – August the clinic is open Tuesday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • The clinic is closed December and January

Before dropping by the clinic please call ahead to make sure a volunteer is there to assist you.

The Gardens and Clinics are operated by WSU trained and certified volunteers. These volunteers can only provide information to home gardeners. Commercial farms and businesses need to contact Extension office for help, (360) 867-2162.


Do You Have a Composting Question?


Call our rot-line at (360) 867-2163 or email or attend one of the following workshops.
























































Directions to WSU Thurston County Extension Office:

The WSU Extension office is located at 5033 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia, WA 98502. Our office is located inside the old McLane firehouse. The City of Olympia renamed their portion of Mud Bay Road to Harrison Avenue. Some of the street signs still say Mud Bay while others have been changed to Harrison. You can Map Quest or Google our office location OR you can follow these directions:

From I-5 take HWY 101 towards Shelton. Get off at Evergreen State College/Evergreen Parkway exit. Once you exit the highway keep right and follow the sign and ramp to Mud Bay Road. At the bottom of the ramp turn right onto Mud Bay Road/Harrison Ave. and immediately right into the parking lot of the Extension office.

The office entrance is the door to the right of the fire bays. Parking is available in the small lot or all along the front of the building in non-posted spots. Parking is also available behind the building. Look for the driveway at the far end of the building and follow it to the parking lot behind the building. To enter the building follow signs through the courtyard and into the building.

For questions please contact Cori Carlton, Program Coordinator at 360-867-2162 or


WSU Extension workshops/presentations/events are open to all. Reasonable accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities and special needs who contact Cori Carlton at 5033 Harrison Ave. NW Olympia WA 98502, 360-867-2162 or at least two weeks prior to the event.