Community Worker, Master Gardener/Family Life/4-H & Youth
University of Illinois Extension
509 Front Street,
Henry, IL 61537
If you enjoy gardening and want to share your gardening knowledge, the Master Gardener program may be for you. All you need is an interest in gardening and a willingness to share your knowledge with others. The Marshall-Putnam Master Gardeners are involved in many community garden projects. Some include Shaw Creek Restoration, Toluca Coal Mine Restoration, McNabb downtown, Fairground Garden, Gardening "Hotline" and Standard Fire Station.
The Master Gardener program is an all-volunteer organization, sanctioned by the land-grant institution in each state, which functions as an extension of the college or university. In Illinois, the program is sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension.
Local Master Gardeners are available to help with community needs that range from special gardening presentations, assistance with community gardens and answering gardening questions. Contact the Marshall-Putnam Extension office for any of these needs.
Master Gardener training is offered one day a week generally from mid to late January to mid-April. Classes usually begin at 8:30am and conclude at 3:30pm. Attendance at all 11 Master Gardener training classes is required to complete the training. Weekly take-home tests are given along with an open-book, take-home comprehensive final examination.
Master Gardeners participate in more than 60 hours of classroom instruction on basic botany, soils, woodies, vegetables, herbaceous plants, fruits, insects, turf, plant pathology and pesticide safety. All classes are taught by University of Illinois Extension educators and campus specialists.
Following the training sessions, Master Gardener interns are required to complete a 60 hour internship through approved volunteer services which include preparing and staffing exhibits or displays, giving demonstrations or talks to local groups, answering home gardening questions in the Extension Office, serving on a Master Gardener committee, or volunteering in community horticulture projects.
To maintain certified University of Illinois Master Gardener status requires a minimum of 30 hours of volunteer service and 10 hours of education annually and is valid for one year. Volunteer agreements must be signed every year. All hours are reported on the volunteer reporting website.
Applications may be made at any time. If a training session is already underway when an application is received, it will be kept on file for the following year's training. Our office offers the trainings every other year - in even number years. You may obtain a copy of the Application Form by calling our office or on the Master Gardener Internet Website.