The Master Gardener program is now accepting applications for the Fall-Winter 2023/24 class.
The purpose of the WSU Extension Master Gardener Program is to train volunteers to be effective community educators in gardening and environmental stewardship. Master Gardeners provide information generated from research at WSU and other university systems. Today’s Master Gardener volunteers teach local community members to:
– manage their gardens and landscapes in a science-based, sustainable manner;
– address environmental and social priorities such as water conservation and water quality protection;
– reduce the impact of invasive species;
– increase public awareness of healthy living through gardening.
MGs also enhance communities through demonstration gardens and educational teaching. Whatever the priority need may be, if it can be addressed through gardening, WSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers are there to serve as part of the solution. The WSU Master Gardener Program is open to anyone over the age of 18 who has a passion for gardening and a desire and willingness to use their experiences, knowledge, and enthusiasm to make a positive impact on Stevens County. If you are looking for a way to expand your current gardening knowledge and serve your community we hope you will consider joining our class.
Volunteers must complete the required training and volunteer time to be certified as a Master Gardener. A tuition fee of $65 and an online module fee of $75 is administered to cover part of the cost of materials provided during training and speaker fees.
NOTE: Computer experience and familiarity is strongly recommended. There are required online training videos. A computer lab is available for use at the extension office, and every effort will be made to accommodate those who need help.
Requirements for using the title of “Extension Master Gardener” include:
- Successful completion of the application and screening process.
- Attendance at orientation and all training sessions. The course is 15 weeks, mostly completed online, but in-person classes are held bi-weekly. Date & time for face-to-face class sessions are scheduled by class voting.
- Successful completion and passing of online, open book quizzes and exams.
- Signing of a Pest Control Recommendation Contract.
– Pass a national background check.
Post Class Requirements
- Contribute a minimum of 40 volunteer hours for the year following training, and 25 minimum volunteer hours for each following year to apply for annual recertification. This could include garden demonstrations, plant/answer clinics, hands-on classes, writing articles for local papers, creating a webinar, etc. Volunteer opportunities will be provided by the program.
- Communicate effectively with the public by telephone, personal contact, group contact, online video class platform, and/or written communication.
- Keep accurate records of volunteer service time and submit hours on a regular basis.
- 10 hours of continuing education are required each year after Basic Training. Many opportunities are provided through the Master Gardener Program and/or extension.
- Agree to follow published WSU recommendations for use of home horticulture pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides).
Steps in the MASTER GARDENER Application Process
- Step 2 – Submit your completed Master Gardener Application Form
- Applications are processed as they come in and are due August 31, 2023. With enough applications, we will begin the 2023-24 class in early October.
- The application form asks for background information on gardening and volunteer experiences, general availability for volunteer work (used by program coordinators to help connect volunteers with projects), and contact information for three references. Completed applications must be either mailed or hand delivered to the extension office or scanned and emailed as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Step 3 – Background check – Washington State University requires background checks, including driver’s license checks, of all new volunteers. A criminal record or poor driving record does not bar you as a volunteer but will be considered as it relates to volunteer duty assignments.
- Step 4 – Preliminary screening will be from information on the application form. Primary considerations are based on:
- Interest in volunteer work
- Availability for volunteer work
- People skills (i.e., ability to assist Extension in horticulture educational efforts)
- Gardening experience
- Staff will email/USPS mail confidential reference letters to the references listed on the application. At least two must be returned before the applicant can be accepted into the Master Gardener program.
- Step 5 – Interview – We invite applicants in for an informal interview giving the applicant the opportunity to learn more about the Master Gardener Program and ask questions about training and volunteer work.
- Step 6 – Applicants will be advised if they were selected for the Master Gardener Program.
Extension programs are available to all without discrimination. Selection is not based on race, age, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or veteran status, disability or handicap.
Students requesting handicap accommodations should directly contact the WSU Stevens County Extension office at 509-684-2588.
Training is estimated to require 120 hours. When satisfactorily completed, trainees become interns. Master Gardener interns complete 40 volunteer hours within 1 year to become Certified Master Gardeners. Certified Master Gardeners annually volunteer 25+ hours and complete 10 hours of continuing education to remain in the program.
A minimum of 5 people are needed to run the class.
Learn about what it is like to be a Master Gardener Volunteer by reading the volunteer description.
In 2023, the Master Gardener Program celebrated its 50th ANNIVERSARY! Watch a video and read about the history of the Master Gardener Program.
If you are interested in the program please contact Linda Teller for further information and to be added to the class contact list.
Helpful Master Gardener Volunteer Links
- Online Volunteer Reporting