Advanced Training


2018 Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Advanced Training Schedule:

  • February 1, 2018 | Home Orchard Management | Cherokee County | SGL
  • March 2, 2018 | Landscape Safety | Spalding County | SGL
  • April 17, 2018 | Urban Trees | Richmond County | UFE
  • May 15, 2018 | Turf | UGA Griffin Campus | SGL/DT
  • June 7-28, 2018 | Online School Gardening Training with Becky Griffin | YCG
  • July 13, 2018 | Success with School Gardens: Tips for MGEV Leadership | YCG
  • August 2018 | Diagnostic Testing with Ornamentals | Gwinnett County | DT
  • Summer/Fall 2018 | IPM for Home Landscapes | SGL/DT
  • September 2018 | Community and Education Gardens | R
  • October 25, 2018 | Soil and Water Testing | DT/WQM
  • October 2018 | Gardening with Youth: School Gardens |YCG 


Advanced Training registration information is shared via email by the SPO, Extension offices, and through MGLOG. Further details will become available in early 2018.

What is Advanced Training?

Advanced Training (AT) is for the purpose of intensively training active MGEVs on specific subjects beyond the core horticultural training to further equip them as educators of environmentally sound horticulture. Individuals must be current, active MGEVs to be eligible to attend Advanced Training. Advanced Training is sponsored by UGA Cooperative Extension and must be approved by the State Program Office. AT occurs typically in day-long trainings with a minimum of 6 contact hours. AT credit is recorded in MGLOG by the State Program Office. Advanced Training categories include Sustainable Gardens and Landscapes (SGL), Water Quality and Management (WQM), Youth and Community Gardening (YCG), Diagnostics and Technology (DT), Urban Forestry and Ecology (UFE), or Required (R). The "required" category includes training in communications, creative teaching techniques, or leadership. Recognitions can be earned for the amount of AT courses completed.

Advanced Training Categories and Descriptions:

Sustainable Gardens and Landscapes (SGL) - Investigation of gardening techniques, methods, and crops for the consumer/residential gardener. Topics include organic gardening practices, plant expert series, vegetable gardening, and selection and use of ornamental plants. Examples of trainings offered: 

  • Sustainability in the Garden: Understanding the Spectrum of Conventional and Organic Approaches
  • Secrets of Turf Success
  • Woody Plant Identification
  • Teaching with Demonstration Gardens

Water Quality and Management (WQM) - Investigation of the impact of gardening and landscaping techniques and methods on water quality and management. Topics include fertilizer applications, septic system management, rain gardens, water-wise landscaping, etc. Examples of trainings offered:

  • Backyard Watersheds: Rain Gardens at Work
  • Cleanscapes: Landscapes, Septic Systems, and You
  • Water-wise Landscapes

Urban Forestry and Ecology (UFE) - Study of the urban forest and related ecology. Topics include tree selection, cultural issues, urban tree issues, plant protection, etc. Examples of trainings offered:

  • Urban Trees
  • Native Trees

Diagnostics and Technology (DT) - In-depth study of factors affecting plant growth and development, such as diseases, insects and cultural phenomenon, and the use of technology to identify and find solutions to these factors. Examples of trainings offered:

  • Diagnosing Ornamental Problems: From the Landscape to the Lab
  • Vegetable Diagnostics

Youth and Community Gardening (YCG) - Study of gardening with special populations, including youth, elderly, disabled, and at-risk. Topics include gardening methods, project management, MGEV leadership for community vegetable gardens, adaptive tools, and demonstration gardens. Examples of trainings offered:

  • Get Kids Gardening!
  • Kids in Bloom
  • From Dreams to Reality: Putting "Community" in Community Gardens

Required (R) - Training in teaching techniques, leadership, or communication that provides support to MGEV projects. Topics include creative teaching techniques, making great presentations, financial resources development and management, etc. Examples of trainings offered:

  • Creative Teaching Techniques
  • Making a Great Presentation
  • Leadership

Who Can Participate in Advanced Training?

Advanced Training is only available to current, active MGEVs. Trainees must fulfill program requirements and gain MGEV status before participating. MGEVs can participate in as many Advanced Training sessions as they desire. Georgia's Advanced Training program is flexible to fit the MGEV and the local Extension program. A MGEV can take as many or as few of the trainings as he/she wants to and continue to increase personal knowledge and skill. Or, the MGEV can work toward additional training recognition, such as through the Star program. The Star Program includes two levels of recognition, Silver Star and Gold Star, for volunteers who meet specific Advanced Training criteria. There is a five year window for completing a star. Advanced Training courses taken with the intent to gain a star should be completed within five years. 

Silver Star Level

This is a generalist-level recognition for those volunteers who have completed Advanced Training in a variety of subjects.


  • Successfully complete 4 elective sessions (1 session or certificate is 6 hours of class time)
  • Successfully complete 1 required session: Creative Teaching Techniques, Leadership: Building a Dynamic MG Network, etc.


Gold Star Level

The Gold Star is specialist-level recognition. Participants choose one category or subject area and concentrate study in this area. The educational project that demonstrates application of learning is a key component of Gold Start recognition. Suggested projects include teaching a series of classes, preparing lesson plans, writing fact sheets, and preparing multimedia presentations. Project approval is required before and after project completion by County Extension Office. MGEVs who earn the Gold Star agree to be a resource to the local Extension office for the chosen specialty subject area. NOTE: Silver Star is NOT required prior to earning a Gold Star.


  • Select one specialty area and successfully complete 3 sessions within specialty subject area
  • Successfully complete 2 elective sessions from any other subject area
  • Successfully complete 1 required (R) session
  • Successfully complete volunteer project (related to specialty subject area), including submission of a project package application to County Extension Agent with copy to State Program Office (SPO)
  • Gold Star Application Package (pdf)

2018 Advanced Training 

On February 1, 2018, the first Advanced Training course of the 2018 AT program took place at Buckeye Creek Farm in Woodstock, GA. Hosted by Cherokee County Extension, the hands-on training addressed fruit production, diseases, and insect pests in home orchard management. 

Buckeye Creek Farm, home to Cherokee County MGEV Liz Porter, is a small family farm located 35 miles north of Metro Atlanta in the Hickory Flat Community. The farm strives to provide fresh, sustainably grown foods. The recent addition of a canning kitchen allows for a variety of culinary and gardening classes to take place at the farm as season and time permits. Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteers from around the state spent the morning of the training day in the farm's kitchen with UGA Specialists Dr. Dario Chavez, Dr. Elizabeth Little, and Dr. Brett Blaauw learning about home fruit production and how to identify and address disease and insect problems. In the afternoon, instructors were joined by Bartow County Extension Agent, Paul Pugliese, and Cherokee County Extension Agent, Josh Fuder, as MGEVs gathered in small groups in plots of peach and apple trees for hands-on demonstrations on proper pruning techniques, pesticide application safety, and identification and diagnosis of diseases and insects in the orchard.

This successful training gave attendees opportunity to interact closely with specialists. Many MGEVs commented that they would take what they learned and implement it in their own gardens, ongoing community projects, and when addressing questions called into the Extension office and asked at plant clinics.