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Volunteer Requirements

Pierce County Master Gardener Volunteer Requirements:

“Volunteer Community Educators—cultivating plants, people, and communities since 1973.”

Pierce County Master Gardener Program’s mission is to create connections with residents and communities to provide research-based horticulture information and help create healthy and sustainable environments while improving personal and collective quality of life. We are educators that provide outreach programs to meet community needs, we adapt to new knowledge and listen to the voices of the community we serve. We are community connectors to horticulture information above all else. 

Maintaining your Certification ensures that you are an engaged and educated community connector, provided with new knowledge and committed to learning and teaching. The MG program is not a garden club, while we are a vibrant community and can develop vast personal knowledge, the mission is to teach and share knowledge with others outside the MG community. If you are not able to maintain your membership or commit to being a community connector, you are welcome to stay connected to our external community and learn through events and clinics. We’re committed to participating in local garden clubs and supporting local horticulture chapters with out speakers bureau and outreach events.

Volunteers currently enrolled in the WSU Extension Master Gardener Program, while acting in good faith within the scope of their official WSU duties, are covered under the WSU workers’ compensation coverage through the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) for injuries/illness resulting from their volunteer activities pursuant to RCW 51.36. Timely entry of volunteer hours into the volunteer database is imperative. L&I coverage may include hospital, physician’s care, prescriptions, ambulance, and other associated costs. Loss of income is not covered.


WSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Code of Conduct:

As a WSU Extension Master Gardener, volunteers will:

  • Represent WSU Extension with dignity and pride.
  • Respect all persons with whom they interact as a WSU Extension Master Gardener (fellow volunteers, Extension and other county personnel, and the general public).
  • Conduct themselves in a courteous, respectful manner and refrain from profanity, harassment, disruptive behavior, or abuse of any kind.
  • Provide a positive role model when working with youth.
  • Respect and follow WSU, county, and program policies and guidelines.
  • Comply with equal employment opportunity and nondiscrimination laws.
  • Not consume alcohol, use marijuana, tobacco (including vapor products), or illegal substances while representing WSU Extension.
  • Participate as team members within the WSU Extension Master Gardener Program.

Maintaining Certification as a WSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer: 

To remain certified, volunteers must meet the state and county minimum service and continuing education and background screening requirements and re-apply by the end of November the year prior. All applications are available on Give Pulse and must be electronically submitted to maintain tracking standards. 

Certified (Veteran) Master Gardener Yearly Requirements: 

  • Reapply yearly by November 30th. This includes community agreements; pesticide, community care. 
  • Registered on Give Pulse and logging approved activities monthly. 
  • 25 hours of approved volunteer activity. (Clinics, Demo Gardens, Program Support)
  • 10 hours of approved Continuing Education. 
  • Completed up-to-date background screening (an initial check and subsequent checks every 3 years with re-application.) 
  • Visual Verified Covid-19 Vaccination or State approved exemption or waiver.

Emeritus Master Gardener Yearly Requirements

You may apply for Emeritus status if you’ve been registered for at least 10 years or volunteered a total of 500 hours as a Certified (Vet) Pierce County Master Gardener Volunteer. All requirements for Veteran Status still apply, except the following: 

  • 1 volunteer hour 
  • 5 Continuing Education hours 

Withdrawn Master Gardener: 

To cease active participation or to withdraw from the WSU Master Gardener Program, volunteers must notify the program coordinator in writing. In the event a volunteer does not provide notice of withdrawal, but ceases to participate, program coordinators shall attempt to receive notification from the volunteer in writing. Void of communication, program coordinator shall document attempts made. After withdrawal, volunteers may NOT represent themselves as a WSU Master Gardener or use the phrase master gardener to represent themselves. 

Leave of Absence:

Active volunteers may request a one-year leave of absence from serving the WSU Extension Master Gardener Program without a need to retake training. Leaves of absence shall be granted by the program coordinator in alignment with annual volunteer reapplication. A volunteer may only be granted a single one-year leave during their tenure as a WSU Master Gardener volunteer. 

A volunteer absent from the program (not logging hours on Give Pulse, Submitting paperwork or yearly application) for more than a year must reapply and is subject to all fees, training, and internship requirements. 

Continuing Education:

What is considered approved continuing education? Classes that will improve a volunteer’s knowledge and skill base for performing work as a horticulture adviser and serving as a resource on issues of sustainable gardening for gardeners. MGs are trained to carry out the mission of WSU Extension and its community horticulture programs, and their purpose is to educate. Education that counts as continuing education includes classes, seminars, lectures offered by accredited institutions/horticulture organizations including webinars and online workshops.