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Michelle Berg Vogel
Program Coordinator, Ag and Natural Resources
University of Illinois Extension
818 S. Park, P.O. Box 366
Hardin, IL 62047
Phone: 618-653-4687
FAX: 618-576-8013

Ken Johnson
Extension Educator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
104 N Westgate Ave
Jacksonville, IL 62650
Phone: 217-243-7424
FAX: 217-243-1544

Master Gardeners

Master Gardeners

Master Gardener Training for 2017

We will be offering Master Gardener training again this winter/spring. Classes will be held in Jacksonville on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m.  Classes will begin February 28 and run for 10 weeks (schedule can be found below). There is a $175 registration fee to participate in the training, this includes the cost of the Master Gardener manual. 

Class size is limited.  Each application will have an informal interview and background screening.  Applications are due by January 20, 2017 (application and background check form can be found below). 

Master Gardeners participate in more than 60 hours of training taught by University of Illinois specialists and Extension educators.  There are 10 core courses that make up the Master Gardener Training:

  • Botany
  • Turfgrass
  • Soils
  • Woody Plants
  • Disease and Disease Diagnosis
  • Herbaceous Plants
  • Fruits
  • Insects
  • Vegetables
  • IPM & Pesticide Safety

Upon completion of training, a person becomes a Master Gardener Intern and will contribute 60 hours of volunteer service within a two-year time period to become an Active Master Gardener.

To maintain active Master Gardener status, volunteers must obtain a minimum of 10 hours of continuing education and volunteer 30 hours of community service per year at a recognized Master Gardener project.

Master Gardener Information:

The Master Gardener program is an all-volunteer organization sanctioned by the land grant institution in each state and functions as an extension of the college or university. In Illinois, this program is sponsored by the University of Illinois.

Master Gardeners are adults of all ages who love gardening and who have previous gardening experience. You can become a Master Gardener if:

  • you have some knowledge or experience in gardening or landscape management (you need not be an expert),
  • you are willing to learn share horticulture information with others,
  • you are accepted into a local training program and can volunteer time conducting horticultural educational programming coordinated through your local Extension unit.

University of Illinois Extension appreciates the trained Master Gardener volunteers who help meet the constant demand for horticultural information by citizens of our state. There are currently more than 3,500 Master Gardener volunteers in Illinois.

The mission of the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener program is "Helping Others Learn to Grow." Master Gardeners involve people in improving the quality of life by helping them find sound management practices for home and urban natural resources, by creating aesthetically pleasing environments, by promoting well-being through people-plant interactions and horticultural therapy, and by contributing to a safe, abundant food supply through home fruit and vegetable production.

The objectives of the Master Gardener program are to:

  • Expand the capacity of the U of I Extension Service to distribute horticultural information to individuals and groups in local communities
  • Develop and enhance community programs related to horticulture such as environmental improvements, horticultural therapy projects, community and school gardening projects, and much more.
  • Develop the leadership potential of Master Gardener volunteers ad they volunteer and assist Extension staff in managing local Master Gardener activities and programs.

Visit the Illinois Master Gardeners website for more information.

Thanks for your interest in the Master Gardener program!