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Master Gardener Volunteers


Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners (VCE-MG) are trained volunteer educators who provide the public with environmental information that draws on the horticultural research and experience of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and Virginia State University.


  • Answer gardening questions in the Extension Office, local community functions and local garden centers.
  • Diagnose plant, insect and disease problems.
  • Promote safe use of pesticides and fertilizers to protect water quality and the environment.
  • Instruct the community on proper care of lawns, trees, shrubs, and vegetables.
  • Write newspaper and newsletter articles, fact sheets and brochures.
  • Conduct gardening programs for diverse groups and all ages within the community.
  • Participate in community beautification and landscape projects.
  • Work with 'Plant a Row for the Hungry.'
  • Participate in seminars for continuing education.
  • Participate in social events, field trips, and plant swaps.


The Master Gardener training program is held in the fall and winter of each year. Classes include more than 70 hours of core information on: botany, soils, pesticide safety, pest management (insect diseases and weeds), nutrient management, plant culture (pruning, propagation), turf, vegetables, fruit, woody ornamentals, water management, and principles of landscape design. Once the training is completed, trainees begin a Internship period to complete 50 hours of volunteer service within one year of completing the training. After the internship, volunteers become certified Master Gardeners. To remain an active Master Gardener you must contribute 20 hours per year, and also earn eight hours of continuing education each year.


Registration for the 2021 VCE Master Gardener Information Sessions has closed.   If you have questions or want to sign up for the waiting list and receive future information please email [email protected].


To apply for a scholarship please click here.


Benefits to You:
Extensive, interesting and fun training
Establishing relationships with like-minded people in your community
Educating your community through environmental programs

The Application Process:
Attend one introductory class
Complete and return the application by your interview date. Interviews will follow intro classes.
Complete successful interview in Aug/September
Complete and pass a confidential background screening check through Pre-Search Background Services.
Tuition due by early September, approximately $235 (cost dependent on what type and number of types of manuals the volunteer chooses, digital or print) Checks collected at time of acceptance into the program and payable to 'Treasurer of Virginia Tech' - hand carry or mail to VCE- Prince William 8033 Ashton Ave. Manassas, VA 20109 ATTN: Nancy Berlin, MG Coordinator) - fee covers Master Gardener handbook (approximately $90 for print copy), supplemental resources, hand lens & speaker fees and supplies.

Classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursday nights - 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm from mid-September to mid- December (if there are no snow days) at Development Services Building, 5 County Complex Dr. Woodbridge, VA 22192, as well as other locations. There will also be a few (2-3) Saturday morning field-type classes held at different locations
Required Characteristics of Master Gardener Volunteers
Communicates clearly and courteously
Comfortable educating and speaking to others (1:1, or small groups or lectures)
Initiative/discipline to research a problem
Dependable - your MG colleagues will be counting on you to honor your commitments
Confident enough to say 'I don't know, but I'll get back to you'
Will provide all research-based options to best serve our clients
Desired Characteristics
Attends to responsibilities (reports hours, stays current on procedures, checks personal & organizational calendars and email regularly)
Willing to enthusiastically support existing project areas
Web site abilities or willingness to learn
Willingness to take on leadership roles
Speaks second language

Class Requirements
You are expected to attend all training classes. If you must miss a class, you must make up any missed assignments/lectures, if available by watching a DVD/video. You must complete all quizzes, an open book final exam and 1-2 Frequently Asked Question oral presentations. If you miss three classes due to illness, work conflicts, your participation in the MG training class will be terminated.

Certification Requirements
50-hour Internship - you have one year to complete this period. 
10 hours to plant clinics (including: Extension Horticulture Help Desk, garden center plant clinics, plant clinics at community events)
10 hours, or 3 clients BEST lawns (assess your own lawn + 2 clients with mentor)
10 hours to Lawn Education, Teaching Garden or community educational programs
10 hours at the Teaching Garden workdays (garden maintenance)
10 hours to support school and community gardens

Every year, after your internship is completed, you will need to contribute hours (see below) to maintain active Master Gardener status:
Minimum of 20 hours service
Minimum of 8 hours continuing education
Annual recertification training meeting is held in March each year from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Thank you for considering the volunteer opportunities with Virginia Cooperative Extension as a Master Gardener!

Please call the Extension Horticulture Help Desk 703-792-7747, if you have questions regarding the application process or Master Gardener program commitments.

Check us out on Facebook 'VCE Prince William Master Gardeners'
Our weekly Teaching Garden blog https://teachinggardenpwc.wordpress.com/ 

Call 703-792-7747 or email [email protected] for more information.

Click here for the PDF version of the Master Gardener Brochure!