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Advanced Training

MGEV Advanced Training programs

2024 Advanced Training Schedule

Upcoming AT Courses:

  • Stay tuned for updates!

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 Star 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)