Master Gardener Program

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Become a Master Gardener

Who are Master Gardener Volunteers?

They are passionate about serving their communities and sharing gardening best practices. Master Gardener volunteers are individuals who have completed the Master Gardener training and share their time and expertise as volunteers in community gardens, city beautification projects, and farmers markets, to name a few projects. 

If you are interested in the Master Gardener Training for professional development, or do not intend to volunteer, you may apply for the course as a ProHort participant. 

Steps to Become a Master Gardener Volunteer

Declare your intent to become a Master Gardener to the Muscatine Extension and Outreach office apply online to be a part of the Master Gardener Volunteer Training

  • Application period for Fall Session: June 3 - July 8
Be selected to participate
  • Submit and pass the background check. Background check not required for ProHort.
  • Pay class fee ($150 for MG trainees; $550 for ProHort); fee includes the training book (MG Resource Guide). 
Complete the ISU Extension and Outreach Master Gardener training
  • Complete online course materials over a 10-week period
  • Participate in 4 in-person sessions through your county office
  • Take pre- and post-assessment to gauge knowledge change
  • Topics include: Vegetables, insects, houseplants, flowers, fruits, turfgrass, landscape design, native plants, plant propagation, wildlife, integrated pest management, and common plant problems
  • Receive the MG Intern certificate (or ProHort certificate) upon completion of training
Volunteer in your community
  • Complete 40 volunteer hours in your training county by the end of the next calendar year 
  • Not interested in volunteering? Register for the core course as a Pro-Hort trainee ($550 fee) and receive a certificate upon completion of the training
Stay involved
  • Master Gardener volunteers remain active members by completing 10 hours of continuing education and contributing 20 hours of volunteer service
  • Report your volunteer and continuing education hours online by December 31st of each year

What happens after the training?

After you complete your training, you'll volunteer in the community at approved Master Gardener projects throughout the county. You'll need to complete 40 hours of volunteering by December 31 of the year following the completion of your training. Projects include working in community gardens with community volunteers, administrative work, answering questions from the public, assisting at our plant sale--there are many different opportunities available.

Thereafter, you'll remain active by attending ten or more hours of continuing education and contributing 20 hours or more of volunteer community service.

If you have any questions, call the Extension Office at (563) 263-5701.

Information for Current Master Gardeners and Interns

Iowa State Master Gardener Volunteer Manual

Volunteer Reporting System

Muscatine Master Gardener Projects

Resources for Master Gardeners

Tentative Master Gardener Meeting Dates:

Meetings are held at the Muscatine County Extension Office (1601 Plaza Place, Muscatine, IA 52761)

Tentative 2023 Master Gardener Calendar

Muscatine County Master Gardener Awards:

Outstanding Master Gardener   Friend of the Master Gardeners

Muscatine Master Gardener Board

The Board elects officers at the first Board Meeting of the year. Officer terms begin at the same meeting. Officers shall be elected for a two-year term and may be elected to a second term. All meetings are open to members, who may attend as observers.

Jackie Callahan Term Ends January 2024  
William Koellner Term Ends January 2024  
Erin Parks Term Ends January 2024 Newsletter Editor
Terri Hanson Term Ends January 2025 Secretary & Treasurer
Mary Danner Term Ends January 2025 Vice-Chair
Brandy Olson Term Ends January 2025 Chair
Lynn Pruitt Term Ends January 2025  
Mary Wildermuth Term Ends January 2025  
Kathy Haltmeyer No Term Ex-Officio Member
Lauren Nerad Master Gardener Coordinator  
Heidi Hoffman Muscatine County Extension Director  

Committee Report Template

Emma Mae Pruitt Muscatine Master Gardener Scholarship

Scholarship Information 2024 Application

The Legacy of Emma Mae Pruitt

March 14, 1939 - January 24, 2021

Emma Mae grew up on a farm surrounded by parents and grandparents who loved flowers and depended on vegetable and fruit gardening. Once married, she designed and established her own flower beds comprising a variety of plants that attracted pollinators and were beautiful and fragrant. She loved to share her gardens with anyone who stopped by. Visitors usually went home with a bouquet and/or a transplant for their own garden.

Emma Mae was thankful to God for the opportunity to live in small town Iowa where she could be a wife and mother close to nature. In addition to teaching Home Economics (Family and Consumer Science) for 18 years, she taught young girls from church how to live and love a simple lifestyle in a complex society.

She served on the Muscatine County Extension Council for many years and then on the Master Gardener Board of Directors. Emma Mae was instrumental in formalizing the Muscatine County Master Gardener Scholarship program, and would have been honored when it was named after her. She believed strongly in life-long learning and especially encouraged those studying horticultural and related natural sciences to enter into teaching or related programs of service to others.


Donation Garden Information

The Muscatine Master Gardeners support two donation gardens in Muscatine. If you are interested in volunteering at any of the donation gardens, please reach out to the Master Gardener Coordinator, Lauren Nerad, for more information. She can be reached at (563) 263-5701 or

The Muscatine Master Gardeners also encourage Muscatine County residents to Plant a Row For the Hungry. If you are interested in what produce you can donate, check out this publication from Iowa State Extension. The Muscatine County Extension Office is accepting your excess produce and will be delivering the produce to MCSA. Feel free to stop by the office Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm to donate!

Zion Lutheran Church Donation Garden

Master Gardener Contact for Garden: Terri Hanson
Open Garden Hours to Volunteer (Check with Master Gardener Contact to confirm date and times): Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 9:15 am to 11:15 am

Flowers in a raised bed at Zion Lutheran Donation Garden
Church of Christ Donation Garden

Master Gardener Contact for Garden: Lynn Pruitt & Bonnie Reeb
Open Garden Hours to Volunteer (Check with Master Gardener Contact to confirm date and times): Mondays at 6:00 pm

Church of Christ donation garden volunteers with their harvest
Muscatine County Extension Donation Garden

Master Gardener Contact for Garden: Dave Cooney (or Lauren Nerad for Extension Contact)
Open Garden Hours to Volunteer (Check with Master Gardener Contact to confirm date and times): Wednesdays at noon

The Muscatine County Extension Donation and Youth Education Garden was built in 2022 and is currently active for the 2022 growing season. If you are interested in helping volunteer at the donation garden, please fill out this survey.

Muscatine Extension donation garden