Master Gardener Program

Master Gardener project in Neenah

Master Gardener project in Neenah, WI


The Master Gardener Volunteer program trains enthusiastic volunteers in research-based horticultural practices to assist UW-Extension in providing community-based education that improves the well-being of individuals and communities, protects natural resources, and encourages production and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Being a Master Gardener

Being a Master Gardener is about becoming a VOLUNTEER with the University of Wisconsin-Extension to help educate the public about gardening and natural resources. It’s not about knowing everything about gardening. It’s about learning to ask the right questions and knowing how to look up information from appropriate resources. Being a Master Gardener is about helping deliver meaningful community programs to improve the well-being of individuals and communities, to protect natural resources, and to help keep fresh fruits and vegetables on the table. It’s about working in tandem with UW-Extension staff and other volunteers to make a difference in the places we live, learn, and work.

Being a Master Gardener, you need to have an interest in learning and giving back to your community by working with your UW-Extension office to deliver timely research based information.

Getting Started

MG training is a commitment. We want you to fully understand the program and training before you jump in. In essence, you agree that in return for the training you receive, you will volunteer 24 hours a year back on Extension approved activities. In addition, if you don’t have 3-5 hours per week for the dozen classes, then maybe now isn’t the best time for you to apply to the program.
Level 1 Training is hosted in Winnebago County typically from Labor Day to Thanksgiving. There is a course fee of approximately $95 per person (Financial assistance is available if needed.) This includes 12 classes, training manuals, access to supplemental materials, and a 1 year membership in the state and local associations. Classes will meet on Tuesdays at the J.P. Coughlin Center, 625 E. County Rd Y, Oshkosh. During even numbered years the classes are held during the day, during odd numbered years they are held in the evenings.
A flipped classroom approach is used. Students watch video lectures at home, and class time is for students to inquire about the lecture content, test their skills in applying knowledge, and interact with one another in hands-on activities. Topics include: botany, soils, woody ornamentals, herbaceous ornamentals, entomology, plant pathology, weeds, lawn care, vegetables, fruits, and backyard wildlife. For students who do not have access to a computer, accommodations to watch the videos can be made in the UWEX office during normal business hours.
To earn Master Gardener certification, individuals must volunteer a minimum of 24 hours on one of our approved projects.
So that you fully understand the program, interested participants are required to attend a short orientation about the Master Gardner Volunteer program at the J.P. Coughlin Center before Level 1 Training starts (dates will be announced). This step is to provide details of the program and to answer any questions you may have regarding training and volunteer requirements.
For more details, contact the UW-Extension office at (920) 232-1970. All information will be posted as it comes available.



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