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Are you interested in becoming a WSU Thurston County Extension Master Gardener volunteer?
*2023 Volunteer Training details and the application process are now posted. *
Before applying to become a WSU Master Gardener volunteer, it is important to thoroughly read the information on this page to understand what it means to be a WSU Master Gardener volunteer. If you choose to apply, we will confirm your understanding of the following information at the meet and greet.
Click on the “+” next to the each question to view its answer.
The next WSU Master Gardener training in Thurston County is scheduled to begin January 27, 2023.
How do I become a WSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer?
Becoming a certified WSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer is more than just taking a course, it requires completing several steps over a 2-year period. In order to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively serve our community as a certified WSU Master Gardener volunteer, you must first be accepted into and complete the WSU Master Gardener Training. (more on training below)
After successful completion of all the training requirements (based on class attendance, quiz scores and final exam score), each trainee graduates from training and becomes a WSU Master Gardener Intern. Interns then complete 60 hours of volunteer service and an intern project in order to achieve the status of certified WSU Master Gardener.
Certified WSU Master Gardener volunteers are then able to represent the WSU Master Gardener program when they do service and give gardening information and advice to the public. In order to maintain their certification, each volunteer is required to give a minimum of 25 hours of volunteer service per year, complete 10 hours of continuing education per year, pass a background check every other year, comply with WSU Master Gardener Program Guidelines and WSU Integrated Pest Management Policy, and adhere to the Volunteer Code of Conduct.
Besides the training and volunteer requirements, the only other requirement is that you have the desire to share professional, unbiased, research-based gardening and horticulture information with our local community.
What is the WSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Training program?
The WSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program in a critical piece to becoming a certified WSU Master Gardener volunteer, and you cannot achieve certified WSU Master Gardener status without it. The purpose of the WSU Master Gardener Volunteer Training program is to prepare you to do gardening-related volunteer service in our local communities.
Training typically involves approximately 75 hours of comprehensive classroom and workshop instruction, typically starting in January and ending in June. Trainees will spend some of these weeks doing assignments at home, and the other time will be in class to hear from a presenter, take a field trip, or to do a hands-on activity or lesson.
Training focuses on familiarization with and learning how to use resources to research, educate, mentor and answer horticulture questions for the general public, usually serving with other WSU Master Gardener volunteers in an enjoyable, collaborative environment. Each WSU Master Gardener trainee is assigned a mentor to assist him or her in the education process.
Training topics include:
Integrated Pest Management
Pest and disease diagnosis
Thurston County WSU Master Gardener Training
Scroll through the slideshow of past WSU Master Gardener Training classes.
WSU Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local WSU Extension office. Persons will disabilities who require alternative means for communication or program information or reasonable accommodation need to contact Cori Carlton at 3054 Carpenter Rd. SE, Olympia WA 98503, 360-867-2162, at least two weeks prior to the beginning of training.