How to Become a Master Gardener Volunteer: 2019 Training Schedule

— Written By Mastr Gardener volunteers of Chatham County logo image

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

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

2) Attend at least five (5) 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.

Extension Gardener Class Date (2019) Time Cost
Growing Vegetables from Seed Feb. 6 10:00-12:30 $10
Growing Vegetables from Seed Feb. 9 10:00-12:30 $10
Easy-to-Grow Fruits and Berries Feb. 11 10:00-12:00 $6
Easy-to-Grow Fruits and Berries Feb. 13 6:30-8:30 p.m. $6
Sustainable Vegetable Gardening Feb. 16 9:00-12:00 $10
Sustainable Vegetable Gardening Feb. 18 9:00-12:00 $10
Growing & Preserving Culinary Herbs Mar. 11 10:00-12:00 $6
Growing & Preserving Culinary Herbs Mar. 14 6:30-8:30 p.m. $6
Sustainable Lawns & Lawn Alternatives Apr. 2 10:00-12:00 $6
Sustainable Lawns & Lawn Alternatives Apr. 4 6:30-8:30 p.m. $6
Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Perennials Apr. 16 10:00-12:00 $6
Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Perennials Apr. 18 6:30-8:30 p.m. $6
Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Trees & Shrubs Apr. 30 10:00-12:00 $10
Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Trees & Shrubs May 2 6:30-8:30 p.m. $10
Fundamentals of Composting Nov. 2 10:00-12:30 $6

3) Submit your application by May 3, 2019

Applicants will be notified of acceptance into the program on May 13, 2019. 

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 

May 22, 2019 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 $75 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 $105-117 (5 Extension Gardener classes x $6-10 + $75 Training Fee). Prospective Master Gardener Volunteers are encouraged, but not required, to attend all 8 of the Extension Gardener classes. This increases the total course fee to $139.

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.

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 21 – October 23, 2019, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. To complete the training, you must attend a minimum of six of seven classes. Attendance to the final class on October 23 and completion of the final exam is required.

Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer Core Training Schedule

Master Gardener Volunteer Class Date (2019) Time
Extension History, Resources, & Research Methods Aug. 21 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Botany & Plant Identification Aug. 28 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Soils & Fertility Management Sep. 4 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Beneficial & Pest Insects of Plants Sep. 18 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Diseases & Disorders of Plants Sep. 25 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Diagnostics & Integrated Pest Management Oct. 2 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Weed Ecology & Management Oct. 16 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Final Review & Exam Oct. 23 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Intern Project Work Day Oct. 30 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Graduation Ceremony (Chatham MGV Meeting) Nov. 13 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Field trips will be scheduled based on participants’ availability. 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.

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!

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