Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Master Gardener home page: http://www.mastergardener.iastate.edu/.
What is a Master Gardener?
The Warren County Master Gardener Program is part of a nation-wide volunteer organization. Our program is coordinated by Iowa State University Extension. Master Gardeners assist with horticulture-related programs and projects sponsored by ISU Extension.
Master Gardeners are individuals who have an interest in horticulture, have taken Master Gardener training offered by the Extension service and share their time and expertise with gardeners. It is the acquisition of knowledge, the skill in gardening, and giving back to the community that distinguishes a Master Gardener from other gardeners.
The purpose of the Iowa Master Gardener Program is to provide unbiased, research-based horticultural information to the citizens of Iowa through the volunteer efforts of Master Gardeners. Through their participation in educational activities, Master Gardeners also increase their own personal knowledge in horticulture. Master Gardeners are residents of a community who take an active interest in horticulture. They receive training in horticulture through the ISU Extension Service. When their training is complete, Master Gardeners volunteer in Extension horticulture programs and projects to enhance the community.
The first Master Gardener Program was initiated in Washington State in 1972. In response to overwhelming requests for horticulture information, the Extension Agent felt that trading specialized training in horticulture for a commitment to spend a specified number of hours doing volunteer outreach work for Extension would benenfit both. In Iowa, the program was initiated in Scott County in 1977. To date over 4,000 people located in 97 of Iowa's 99 counties have been trained as Master Gardeners.
There are Master Gardener Programs in 45 states and Canada. The National Master Gardener Organization sponsors a conference every other year.
Warren County Extension Master Gardeners enjoy working with other people interested in gardening. They learn about gardening for their own use and to help others. Extension Master Gardeners represent and do volunteer work for Iowa State University Extension. They are expected to cite Iowa State University recommendations, especially for pesticide use, and not to rely on personal experience, or on common garden folklore. They need to stay up-to-date on gardening information and recommendations through continuing education. They are also required to stay in contact with the Warren County Extension Office regarding horticulture progarm needs.
They are covered under Iowa's Tort Liability law while working as a Master Gardener volunteer.
To become a Master Gardener, you must attend the Master Gardener class. At the end of class sessions, participants graduate and become Master Gardener Interns. Interns are required to volunteer 40 hours in the following year after which they become Active Master Gardeners.
To maintain Master Gardener status, beginning in 2013, the Master Gardener "volunteer hours" requirement will increase from six (6) hours per year to twelve (12) hours per year. The Master Gardener "educational hours" will not change from the current six (6) hours required annually.
Contact the Extension Office for more details about attending Master Gardener classes: email@example.com or 515-961-6237.