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Become a Master Gardener Volunteer

Program Contact: Loren Imes
(360) 639-6059 •
Master Gardener training

Are you a Whidbey or Camano Island gardener? Do you enjoy learning and sharing your knowledge with others? Maybe you have just moved to the area and want to get involved in the community and learn about gardening in the Puget Sound? Then the WSU Extension Island County Master Gardener Volunteer program may be just what you are looking for!

The Master Gardener program trains volunteers to work in partnership with WSU Extension to teach research-based gardening and environmental stewardship practices to Island County residents, while at the same time learning and having fun working with other like-minded volunteers.

Who Should Apply?

The Master Gardener Volunteer Program is open to all. Successful applicants have an enthusiasm for volunteer work, enjoy talking to people about gardening, and are life-long learners. You do not need extensive horticulture knowledge to be accepted into the class, just a passion for learning about gardening and sharing this knowledge with others.

What Does Training Involve?

Master Gardener Volunteer training involves in-person, collaborative classes, plus weekly online reading and homework assignments. Classes focus on familiarization with horticultural topics and learning how to use resources to research, educate, mentor, and answer horticulture questions for the public in a collaborative environment.

Training for 2022 has been tentatively set for Saturday mornings, from 9:00am to 12:30pm, beginning March 12 and continuing through May 21. There will be one weekend off on Saturday April 16. Classes will be held in-person in our Coupeville office and at a simultaneous location on Camano Island connected by video. At least 3 of the Saturday morning classes will require all trainees to be together in one of the two locations. Attendance at all classes is required. Dates and locations are subject to change following state and local health concerns.

Training requires a considerable time commitment during the 11 weeks of training. As a trainee you will be expected to attend all classes and complete the online course work, which includes readings, video presentations, quizzes and a final exam which are open book and focus on researching answers rather than memorization.

Following training, Interns volunteer a minimum of 60 hours at Master Gardener events during their first year to become certified. Certified Master Gardeners continue in the MG Program by volunteering 25 hours per year along with 10 hours of continuing education to maintain active status.

Tuition for this extensive training program is $350, which includes online access to the coursework plus a flash drive containing the entire Master Gardener manual for you to keep. There is also a required background check that is valid for 2 years and is included in the total amount. Please do not send any money at this time.

A final important note is that applicants should be aware that Master Gardeners are Washington State University volunteers and are thereby subject to the Governor’s Proclamation 21-14.2 “COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement”. All COVID-19 safety protocols will be strictly enforced and proof of vaccination will be required before training begins.

Being a Master Gardener volunteer is a great way to gain horticultural knowledge, meet other gardeners, share gardening experiences, connect with the community and belong to a well-respected and educational organization. We hope you will join us!

Apply to become a Master Gardener in 2022

Applications are now being accepted though January 1, 2022. Please download the application pdf form, fill electronically, and email to Loren Imes. There have been problems reported using the Microsoft Edge browser. You can also print the application and return by mail or drop it off at the Extension office located at 406 North Main St. in Coupeville.

For questions about volunteer training in 2022, please contact the Master Gardener Program Coordinator by email or call Loren Imes at 360-639-6059.