Composting is about recycling organic material back to the soil in a usable form. It’s also about reawakening our awareness of the value of healthy soil in the food web. Composting is practical, convenient and inexpensive.
Master Composter Course topics include: Soil and Decomposition Ecology, Biology of Composting, Recipe Design, Disease Control, Site, and Container Selection, VT Act 148, Managing the Compost Process, Troubleshooting, Educational Outreach, Worm Composting
This course is offered online with a flexible schedule option and three tracks!
Track 1: Master Composter Volunteer Certification
Track 1 (master composter volunteer certification)
Track 1 may be right for you if you are:
- Eager to improve your community and share your knowledge as a community educator
- Interested in Environmental Stewardship and willing to promote environmentally safe composting practices.
- Able to attend one hands-on session during the course
- Willing to serve as Master Composter volunteer year to year, and maintain your certification.
- Able to complete the 10 hours of volunteer service within 2 years of taking the course to receive Master Composter Certification.
Track 1 Requirements:
- Complete the online course: eight modules, six live online Q&A sessions (or watch recorded) with instructors, an online manual, quizzes, final exam (70% or better) and additional course materials.
- Participate in one hands-on session in either the northern or southern region of the state.Choose from one of two dates. Oct 24 (Ludlow, VT) (1:00-3:00pm) or Oct. 17 (St. Albans, VT) (1:00-3:00pm)
- Participate in a 10-hour hands-on volunteer internship in your local area to earn certification as a Vermont Master Composter. This happens over the course of two years after completing the course.
- Maitain your certification annually by volunteering 5 hours per year after you receive your certifcation, 1 of which can be continuing education.
Track 1 Benefits:
- Receive a course completion letter and intern badge upon completing all course requirements
- Receive a Certified Vermont Master Composter badge and certificate upon completion and reporting of 10 volunteer internship hours by end of the bi-annual term
- Receive the benefits of learning from other Master Composters and giving back to your community
- Receive the benefit of joining our Composter network and listserv, and gives you access to a number of special offers and educational opportunities.
Track 2: Home Composting Certificate of Completion
Track 2 (home composting certificate of completion)
Track 2 may be right for you if you are:
- Not a Vermont resident
- Working full time and/or don't have time to volunteer
- Working in a field related to composting and want to learn more about the science of composting.
- Interested in composting for your own knowledge that you plan to apply to your own composting projects.
- You are not comfortable teaching others about composting
- You would like to use the course completion, " Vermont Certificate of Home Composting" as a professional qualification.
Track 2 Requirements:
Complete the online course: seven modules, six live online Q&A sessions with instructors, an online course guide, quizzes, final exam (70% or better) and additional course materials.
Track 2 Benefits:
- Receive a "Vermont Home Composting Certificate." You will not become a “Master Composter Volunteer.”
Track 3: Self-Paced Course Only
Track 3 (self paced course only)
Track 3 may be right for you if you:
- Don't have time to turn in assignments or follow a schedule
- Are interested in composting for your own knowledge
Track 3 Requirements:
- No requirements, no assignments or due dates
Track 3 Benefits:
- No schedule, no assignments, no hassle!
- Access the materials for your own learning whenever you want
Course Content & Syllabus
Read assigned chapters from the course manual
Watch a pre-recorded lecture
Post 1 discussion question
Take module quiz
Attend or watch the recorded live Q&A sessions (Thursdays 6-7 pm)
The online courses are offered statewide through the eXtenion campus website.
The text for this course is the "Vermont Master Composter & NY Master Composter Manual." These manuals are provided to students in an online pdf format only. Students are welcome to download the documents and print it at a local printing company.
The live Q&A sessions are held using video conferencing. These sessions will allow students to interact with on-screen faculty to ask questions, while course lectures are provided as video recordings. The Q&A sessions are also archived.
Volunteering & Outreach, (Track 1 only) Beret Halverson & Cindy Heath, Master Gardener Program
Course Introduction: Self Paced (no live session) All Intro Assignments Due
Introduction to Composting, Mike Ather, Backyard Wilderness
Soil Ecology, Wendy Sue Harper, Consultant and former UVM Lecturer
Using Compost, Mike Ather, Backyard Wilderness
Community Composting, Natasha Duarte, CAV & Athena Bradley, NERC
Vermont Compost Policy, Anne Bijur & Emma Stool, Department of Environmental Conservation, Waste Mgmt
Course Conclusion: Self Paced (no live session)
In-Person session: This is offered in the northern region and in the southern region (same content). This session is required for Track 1 students, but optional for Track 2 & 3 students.
Learn more about scholarship opportunities.
Is An Online Course Right For You?
Learn what taking an online course entails.
Refunds & Accommodations
Dropping the course/Refund Policy
Full refund up until the course starts. The last drop date is OCTOBER 2nd. Unfortunately, we cannot provide refunds for the course modules that you have already been given access to on the website. Refer to the Course Syllabus for more information.
Anyone requiring a disability-related accommodation to participate should contact Beret Halverson @ firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-656-1777 prior to August 24, 2020.
Lisa Chouinard (802) 656-9562 or email@example.com
Course Information & Scholarships:
Beret Halverson (802) 656-1777 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Cindy Heath, 603-543-1307 or email@example.com
Master Composter is managed by the UVM Extension Community Horticulture program with financial support from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.