Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program
About the Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer (MGEV) Program
The mission of the Georgia MGEV Program is to assist UGA Extension in providing consumer horticulture information and services to Georgia communities.
Master Gardeners are volunteer educators who share the art and science of horticulture to foster healthy, greener communities. MGEVs are representatives of UGA Extension and are crucial to the work we do in Chatham County. MGEVs can serve in a variety of ways:
- Answering home gardening questions
- Giving presentations to a variety of audiences
- Working with youth horticulture programs
- Designing and utilizing demonstration gardens
- Serving with seed libraries, community gardens, & other local projects
Volunteers benefit from the training, networking with other garden enthusiasts, and the opportunity to serve their communities. Master Gardeners say the friendships they make and experiences they have while volunteering together are among the most rewarding aspects of the program.
This program is ideal for individuals who have the time and dedication to make an impact in their community through volunteer service. Prior gardening experience is not a requirement, but a passion for learning and sharing horticulture is essential!
Become a Chatham County Master Gardener
Step 1: Application & Selection
The application period opens in the fall of each year. We are no longer accepting applications for the 2023 course. To be notified when the application opens in early fall 2023, complete the contact form below.
Space in the course is limited, and participants are selected based on their interest in being an Extension volunteer, their interest in community service, as well as their knowledge, expertise, and experience in related areas. Selected applicants will complete an interview, reference check, and background screening before being approved for the program.
Step 2: Training & Assessment
The Master Gardener Training Course prepares selected MGEV Trainees for their volunteer role. Trainees complete a minimum 50 hours of horticultural training consisting of lectures and hands-on activities. Participants also receive a copy of the 8th Edition Georgia Master Gardener Handbook.
To pass the course and continue in the program, Trainees must receive a course average of 70% or higher. Attendance, participation, quizzes, and tests contribute to the course average. Beginning in 2023, quizzes and tests for the course will be conducted using the online classroom software eLearning Commons (eLC).
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 outreach projects, the Trainee is recognized as an official Master Gardener Extension Volunteer and receives a certificate of their title achievement.
To remain a current, active MGEV, volunteers complete at least 25 hours of volunteer service and 10 hours of continuing education each year and track their accomplishments using an online recordkeeping system.
Notice for out-of-county applicants:
The Chatham Master Gardener program is open to residents of surrounding counties. However, Trainees are expected to complete their volunteer service within Chatham County on extension-approved projects.
Topics Covered in the Training Course
Introduction to Cooperative Extension
Introduction to the Master Gardener Extension Volunteer (MGEV) Program
Serving as an MGEV
Gardening with Youth
Plant Physiology: Growth and Development
Basic Plant Pathology
Principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Principles of Organic Gardening
Landscape Site Analysis, Installation, and Maintenence
Urban Trees and Woody Ornamentals
Annuals and Perennials
Native Plants and Urban Ecology
Home Fruit Production
Vegetable & Herb Gardening
Troubleshooting and Researching Plant Problems