University of Vermont

Become a Master Gardener

Certified Extension Master Gardeners are trained in research-based home horticulture practices and they apply this knowledge in their communities through education based volunteer efforts. Over 3,000 Vermonters have taken the Extension Master Gardener (EMG) course since the program started in 1991 and there are currently more than 560 active volunteers.

This program may be right for you if you are ...

  • Eager to participate in a practical and intensive training program
  • Eager to improve your community and volunteer as a community educator
  • Interested in environmental stewardship and willing to promote environmentally safe home horticulture practices
  • Looking forward to sharing your knowledge and experience with your community and across Vermont
  • Willing to serve as an EMG volunteer and have enough time to attend the training and volunteer annually

There are two steps to becoming certified as an Extension Master Gardener (EMG) volunteer in Vermont:

1. Complete the Online UVM Extension Master Gardener (EMG) Course

  • Instructors are UVM faculty and Vermont horticulture professionals
  • Curriculum covers the fundamentals of home gardening focused on the plant and soil sciences, including: soils and soil fertility, plant pests and disease management, fruit and vegetable production, healthy lawn management, annual and perennial culture, caring for shrubs and trees, introduction to landscape design, and invasive pest and plant control
  • Content is specific to the Vermont environment and local needs so that you can put your classroom knowledge to work in your community
  • Learn more about the UVM Extension Master Gardener course.

2. Volunteer 40 Hours - Share your knowledge!

Volunteers hard at work

A volunteer internship is the way for you to apply your classroom knowledge to real needs in your community through hands-on experience. To complete your internship, you'll:

  • Work under the direction of your local Extension Master Gardener Chapter and Certified EMG Volunteers on approved local projects
  • The Member Support Coordinator in your region will coach and support your efforts, helping you to determine how to use your time most effectively
  • Have until December of the following year to complete your 40 volunteer hours: interns from the 2017 course will have until December 2018

Examples of volunteer work include staffing educational exhibits at local events and libraries, conducting community workshops, writing a column for your local paper, working on established EMG garden projects, or serving on your local Chapters Steering Committee.

Enjoy the benefits of being a Certified Extension Master Gardener (EMG) Volunteer and Chapter Member!

Planting time in the greenhouse

Becoming certified is the beginning of many great opportunities for Extension Master Gardener members. You'll be eligible to attend member only events such as; private garden tours, advanced horticulture lectures, hands-on workshops, and EMG community projects in your local EMG chapter. These activities are a great way to spend time with fellow horticulture enthusiasts while expanding your gardening education!

  • Become part of a network of Extension Master Gardeners ... over 50,000 nationwide.
  • Access to National and International EMG conferences and events
  • Access to the 7 EMG email list serves across the state
  • Invitations to free and low cost advanced courses, workshops, and seminars that detail subjects like landscape planning, pest identification, and composting
  • Invitations to Master Gardener Chapter volunteer gatherings and garden visits where you can meet other Extension Master Gardeners who share your gardening interests
  • Access to the entire EMG website for statewide news, events, and volunteer opportunity listings
  • Opportunities to take on leadership roles in your local volunteer chapter
  • Membership in a community of like-minded gardener-volunteers wanting to make a difference in their communities
  • A role as a recognized gardening expert that provides locally relevant research based gardening information

To remain active as a certified Extension Master Gardener Volunteer you can choose one of two membership options:

Gold Level EMGs - $25/annual membership dues and volunteers 20 hours or more per year and 5 hours of continuing education annually
Green Level EMGs - $50/annual membership dues and volunteers less than 20 hours per year and 5 hours of continuing education annually


For more information, please call the Extension Master Gardener administrative office at (802) 656-9562 or email us at

For information about local EMG Volunteer Chapters in Bennington, Rutland, Windsor and Windham counties, please contact Member Support Specialist-South, Cindy Heath @

For all other counties, please contact Member Support Specialist-North, Kitty Werner @



Last modified February 06 2017 09:43 AM