UGA Extension Office

Athens Area Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program

What is the Athens Area Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program?

Established in 1990, the Athens Area Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program provides novice and seasoned gardeners with an intensive educational experience in horticulture principles, practices and pest management.  Classes are taught by University of Georgia faculty and other subject area experts.  Class topics include botany, plant physiology, soils, flowering plants, vegetable gardening, fruit gardening, herb gardening, organic gardening, entomology, plant pathology and disease control, landscape design, plant propagation, composting and more.

After completing the three-month educational component, participants perform 50 hours of volunteer service in their community before the end of the calendar year. Master Gardeners then continue to volunteer a minimum of 25 hours each year thereafter to retain their certification.   Volunteer opportunities include answering gardening questions at the Athens-Clarke County Extension office, staffing informational booths at farmers markets and local events, conducting plant clinics, maintaining Plant a Row for the Hungry gardens, assisting curators at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, teaching Junior Master Gardener programs at local schools and more.  Currently, over 160 Master Gardeners serve the Athens area.  This dedicated group performs more than 14,000 hours of volunteer service each year.

Who Can Participate?

The Athens Area Master Gardener Extension Volunteer program is open to any adult in Athens or surrounding counties with an interest in horticulture and a desire to volunteer in the community.  Master Gardener students enter the program with a variety of experience levels and skills.  Before being accepted into the program, applicants must complete a background check required of all University of Georgia Extension Volunteers.

When is the Training?

The training occurs once a year beginning in January on consecutive Tuesdays and Thursdays.  To accommodate a variety of schedules, the classes take place in the morning during even years (ex:2020), and classes take place in the evening during odd years (ex: 2019).  Classes for the 2021 program will take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:45-8:15 p.m., beginning Thursday, January 7 through April 1, 2021.  Classes for 2021 will be held online via zoom.

How Can You Apply to be a Master Gardener?

Applications for the 2022 class are not yet available. If you are interested in applying for the 2022 class and would like to be put on an interest list, please contact the ACC Extension office at (706) 613-3640 or email

Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program