How to Become a Master Gardener Volunteer: 2020 Training Schedule (POSTPONED)

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Due to COVID-19 and the limitations on volunteer activity and necessary in-person training, the EMG Core Volunteer Training will be postponed until further notice. You may still send in your applications and continue to register for and participate in online learning via the Extension Gardener series (more classes coming online later this summer and fall). If you have questions or are interested in participating in the volunteer program, contact me at

Master Gardener volunteers of Chatham County logo

How to Become a Certified Master Gardener Volunteer℠ in Chatham County in 2020

1)  Attend one of two Information Sessions, scheduled for:

2) Attend at least six (6) Extension Gardener classes

The Extension Gardener series of classes and workshops are open to the public (anyone can attend), and also serve as a foundation for understanding research-based home gardening and horticultural practices for prospective Master Gardener Volunteers℠. Most topics are offered twice, and classes cost $6-10 each to attend. Click on class topic title for full details and registration information.

Class Schedule

Click on the name of the class for more information and how to register.

workshop Date (2020) Time Cost

Tree Identification in Winter

Jan. 21 9:30a-12:00p $10

Tree Identification in Winter

Jan. 22 6:00-8:30 p.m. $10

Growing Vegetables from Seed

Feb. 5 6:00-8:30 p.m. $10

Growing Vegetables from Seed

Feb. 6 9:30a-12:00p $10

Soil & Nutrient Management  in Vegetable Gardens

Apr. 2 – Jun 30 Online Free

Warm Season Crops for Vegetable Gardens

Apr. 16 Online Free

Pest, Disease, & Weed Management in Vegetable Gardens

July 21- Nov 30 Online Free

Carolina Lawn Care


Carolina Lawn Care


What’s the Matter with my ‘Mater?


Cool Season Crops for Vegetable Gardens

POSTPONED Online at later date Free

Native Tree Identification


Fundamentals of Composting

Nov. 5 Online $6

3) Submit your application by June 12, 2020

Applicants will be notified of acceptance into the program on June 19, 2020. 

To receive a printed copy of the application and Certification Agreement, contact Chatham County Cooperative Extension at 919-542-8202 or email

4) Attend Orientation and Luncheon 

July 8, 2020 9:00-11:00

Participants should attend the orientation session to learn about the outcomes and expectations of the EMG program, to tour facilities, and to meet and mingle with current Chatham Master Gardener Volunteers.

The training fee of $100 is due at this time. Master Gardener Trainees may also request to order a hardback, full-color copy of NC State Extension Gardener Handbook at this time. The Handbook is available online for free, but many prefer having a hard copy as well. The total minimum cost to participate in the program is $136-148 (6 Extension Gardener classes x $6-10 + $100 Training Fee). Prospective Master Gardener Volunteers are encouraged, but not required, to attend all 10 of the Extension Gardener classes. This increases the total course fee to $178.

5) Get involved in summer activities and projects

Several formal and informal learning and volunteer activities will be scheduled for the summer, including garden tours, lectures, and demonstration garden work days. Attendance is optional but encouraged. Summer activities are a great way to get to know your fellow Master Gardener Volunteers and increase your knowledge and improve diagnostic skills. Full details of the summer schedule will be provided at orientation. Field trip locations may include the UNC Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill, the NCDA Agronomic Services Labs in Raleigh, or the NC State University J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh.

6) Complete Extension Master Gardener Core Training

Whereas the Extension Gardener seminar and workshop series focus on how to grow plants and other basic gardening skills, the Extension Master Gardener Core Training program provides in-depth training on learning and practicing the research and diagnostic skills required to be a Master Gardener Volunteer. As a representative of NC State Extension, Master Gardener Volunteers disseminate scientific, research-based information backed by NC State University, NC A&T State University, and other land-grant university extension services from across the country.

Core training classes will be held on Wednesdays from August 5 – October 28, 2020, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. To complete the training, you must attend a minimum of five of seven classes. Attendance to the final class on October 28 and completion of the final exam is required.

Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer Core Training Schedule

Master Gardener Volunteer Class Date (2020) Time
Extension History, Resources, & Research Methods Aug. 5 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Soils & Fertility Management Aug. 19 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Botany & Plant Identification Aug. 26 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Beneficial & Pest Insects of Plants Sep. 2 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Diseases & Disorders of Plants Sep. 30 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Weed Ecology & Management Oct. 7 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Diagnostics & Integrated Pest Management Oct. 21 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Final Review & Exam Oct. 28 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

7) Volunteer with N.C. Cooperative Extension, Chatham County Center

Volunteers will complete a 50-hour internship within one year of completing their training. Trainees are encouraged to begin volunteering during the training course by assisting with a class project. Learn about volunteer opportunities and outreach efforts you can be part of!

Learn More: