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WSU Master Gardener Volunteer Training

Program Contact: Cori Carlton, Master Gardener & Master Recycler Composter Program Manager
(360) 867-2162 •

WSU Thurston County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Training Details

Next to digging in the dirt, there’s almost nothing gardeners enjoy more than learning about their favorite plants. One of the easiest ways to increase your gardening knowledge and give back to the community is to enroll in WSU Extension’s Master Gardener volunteer training. For forty six years, Washington State University Extension has been training Master Gardener volunteers in the science and art of gardening.

The WSU Master Gardener course provides WSU research-based information on how to improve soil, identify common plant pest problems including insects and diseases and weed problems, as well as honing your gardening skills. “Hands-on” workshops provide advanced training on pruning, composting, plant propagation and a host of other practical gardening skills.

There is a misconception that to become a WSU Master Gardener you must know everything about gardening. To be a WSU Thurston County Master Gardener you must have gardening experience, but more importantly you must commit to sharing accurate gardening information with our community.

The purpose of the WSU Master Gardener training program is to prepare you to do gardening-related volunteer service in our local communities. Volunteers who are part of the comprehensive core training course will learn the latest information on how to successfully grow their favorite ornamentals, veggies, fruit, and a whole lot more. After completing WSU Master Gardener core training, graduates agree to perform 60 hours of approved volunteer activities before earning the WSU Master Gardener title. Volunteers can choose from a wide array of activities, suited to individual tastes and talents, to satisfy this requirement.


2020 WSU Thurston County Master Gardener Training Details


We only train once a year from January – June. Applicants accepted into the WSU Master Gardener volunteer training program participate in 22 weeks of classes in person and at home by using the on-line training program. Our in person trainings will happen from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on alternating Friday’s. The location will either be at a training room in Lacey or we will be on a field trip.

To be accepted into the program you must meet the application criteria AND attend a pre-orientation session.

Application criteria will be reviewed at the pre-orientation session. Attending a pre-orientation session will help you determine if becoming a WSU Master Gardener volunteer is a good fit for you.


Please review the following 2020 training packet.


The PDF training packet can be downloaded here

2020 WSU Master Gardener Thurston County Training Application

OR the Word version

2020 WSU Master Gardener Thurston County Training Application


If class space is available, the last date to apply is Friday, December 20, 2019.

Class spaces are filled on a first come, first served basis who meet the application criteria AND have attended a pre-orientation.

Don’t delay, attend a pre-orientation and apply today!


WSU Master Gardener Pre-Orientation Sessions for Thurston County


The WSU Master Gardener program requires a significant time commitment. At the pre-orientation session you will learn what it takes to be a WSU Master Gardener including program expectations and benefits you will receive being a WSU Master Gardener volunteer.


The following pre-orientations will be held at the WSU Thurston County Extension Office

*No pre-registration needed, please just show up at a date that works for you.

  • October 25 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • November 6 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • November 15 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • November 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • December 5 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • December 9 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • December 19 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • December 20 from 11a.m. to 12:30p.m. (DATE JUST ADDED. This date is not currently listed in the application packet but it will be happening.)

The address for the WSU Extension office is 3054 Carpenter Rd. SE, Olympia, WA 98503. Our office is located inside the Thurston County Fairgrounds. Upon entering the Fairgrounds continue straight and drive past Heritage Hall on your right and the Expo center on your left. The WSU Extension office is the brown building located behind the building painted like a cow. “Benoschek” is the name on the building where the orientation will be held. The office entrance is located on the right side of the building closest to the east area field. Parking is available on the backside of Heritage Hall. See parking map.

WSU Extension Parking Map Fairgrounds


For more information contact:

Cori Carlton at 360-867-2162 or