Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program
The Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer (MGEV) Program connects UGA Extension, plant enthusiasts, and communities across the state. MGEVs share UGA Extension consumer horticulture programming about selection and care of plants for ornamental value, recreation, and home food production. Master Gardeners teach community members how to use plants and gardening to improve their environment, personal health, and quality of life.
Environmental Stewardship – Increasing awareness and knowledge of landscape and garden management for the optimum use and protection of the environment, including management of all aspects of the residential landscape (soil, plants, insects, diseases, and wildlife), understanding and proper use of equipment, pesticides, fertilizers, and other landscaping inputs to have the greatest value with little negative impact on the environment.
Home Food Production – Teaching the benefits of home food production and developing skills and knowledge in growing food, managing community gardens, or contributing to food banks or kitchens.
Gardening with Youth – Increasing young people’s awareness and understanding of the value of horticulture and landscaping, using horticulture as a tool to increase responsibility and leadership for youth, and teaching individuals and professionals (i.e., teachers and therapists) how to use horticulture to reach young people.
Value of Landscapes – Developing within communities the knowledge and skill to ensure proper design, installation, and maintenance of sustainable landscapes for economic benefit to residents, state and local government employees and agencies, and professionals in impacted fields, such as tourism and real-estate development.
Health Benefits of Gardening – Teaching the value of the interior and exterior landscape for human health, well-being, and quality of life, transferring knowledge and skills to intended audiences so that they might utilize this information for personal health and a healthier workplace and community.
How do I earn the MGEV title?
Step 1: Application & Selection
This process is handled by Extension Offices since it is the local offices that conduct the Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program training course. Included in this step is the completion of a few forms and an interview with the local Extension Office.
Step 2: Training & Exams
This step prepares selected MGEV Trainees for their volunteer role. MGEV Trainees complete 42 hours of core horticultural training and two exams.
Step 3: Volunteer Service
Within the first year after training, the MGEV Trainee completes 50 hours of volunteer service. After completing 50 hours on Extension-approved projects that support MGEV program initiatives, the Trainee is recognized as an official MGEV. To remain a current, active MGEV, volunteers give at least 25 hours of volunteer service hours each year and track their accomplishments using an online record keeping system.