Contact Us

David Shiley
Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
University of Illinois Extension
122 S Walnut St
Arthur, IL 61911
Phone: 217-543-3755
FAX: 217-543-3757
dshiley@illinois.edu

Cumberland County Master Gardeners

Cumberland County Master Gardeners

What is the Master Gardener Program

The Master Gardener program trains adult volunteers to disseminate up-to-date research based horticulture information to home gardeners. This volunteer organization is sanctioned by Land Grant institutions in all 50 states. In Illinois, the program is sponsored by University of Illinois Extension. Why Become a Master Gardener?

Gardening enriches people's lives and communities. Cumberland County Master Gardeners have the opportunity to learn about environmentally friendly and practical gardening techniques specific to central Illinois. They are able to share that information with others in our community in a variety of ways.

Who Can Become a Master Gardener?

Any adult can become a Master Gardener–it does not require a horticulture background. Qualifications include:

  • Adesire to learn and share home horticulture information.
  • The willingness to follow U of I pest control recommendations and horticulture information.
  • Effective communication skills.
  • Time to devote to training sessions and volunteer opportunities.

How Can I Become a Master Gardener?

Potential applicants are recruited throughout the year with applications being accepted in the fall of the year. Because class size is limited, informal interviews are conducted in December. Once accepted, attendance at all Master Gardener training classes is required to complete the training. The training sessions are offered one day a week over a four-month period and are led by University of Illinois educators and specialists.

What Is the Cost and What Will I Learn?

You will be asked to pay a fee to cover the cost of materials which includes the Master Gardener manual and additional training materials. The manual is yours to keep and consists of two large notebooks filled with resources and reference publications.

Some of the topics addressed in the classroom instruction will be:

  • Landscaping Botany
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Woody
  • Ornamentals
  • Houseplants
  • Vegetables
  • Entomology
  • Turfgrass
  • Soils and Fertilizers
  • Herbs
  • Flowers
  • Trees

What Volunteer Opportunities Exist?

There are many ways to fulfill the commitment of at least 60 intern hours:

  • Answer home garden questions in the Extension office – 30 hours required
  • Give talks and demonstration to local civic groups
  • Serve as a resource person for the Junior Master Gardener program
  • Provide expertise by judging 4-H horticulture projects at the county fair
  • Prepare and staff exhibits and displays
  • Many other opportunities