Person Gardening

Become a Master Gardener Volunteer

Program Contact: Loren Imes
360-639-6059 •

Are you a Whidbey or Camano Island gardener? Maybe you have just moved to the area and want to get involved in the community and learn about gardening in the Puget Sound? Are you passionate about volunteering to help others? Then the WSU Extension Island County Master Gardener Volunteer program may be just what you are looking for.

For 50 years, WSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers have helped educate people and build healthier communities. 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. Here are nine themes that guide our volunteer work.

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, using research-based resources, 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 2023 will be on Saturday mornings, from 9:00am to 12:00pm, beginning September 16 and continuing through the end of January 2024 for 15 non-consecutive sessions. Classes will be held in-person in our Coupeville office and simultaneously on Camano Island connected by video. Some Saturday morning classes will require all trainees to be together at offsite locations. Attendance at all classes is required.

Training requires a considerable time commitment during the 15 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, focusing on researching answers rather than memorization. You should be comfortable with using computers and accessing online resources.

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. All volunteers must complete a required background check, renewable every 3 years. Please do not send any money at this time.

Being a Volunteer is a great way to gain horticultural knowledge, meet other gardeners, connect with the community and be an important part of a well-respected, educational organization. We hope you will join us!

Apply to become a Master Gardener in 2023

Applications are now being accepted though August 11, 2023. Please download the application pdf form, fill electronically, and email to Loren Imes. There have been problems reported using the Microsoft Edge browser. You may also print the application and return by mail or drop it off at the Extension office located at 406 North Main St. in Coupeville.

Questions? Contact the Master Gardener Program Coordinator by email or call Loren Imes at 360-639-6059.