- Group Webinar: Growing Ginger, Turmeric and Other Unique Crops 3/22 - Chicago
Register by March 8, 2018
- Native Landscape Design Workshop
Register by March 9, 2018
- 2018 Four Seasons Gardening Winter Webinar IN OFFICE Viewing
Register by March 12, 2018
- Cook County NORTH SUBURBAN - School Garden Assistance
Register by December 1, 2018
- Cook County NORTH SUBURBAN - Community Gardening Assistance
Register by December 1, 2018
- Conservation@Home Cook County Certification Application
Register by December 15, 2018
- Cook County North Suburban Master Gardener - Request a Speakers Bureau Program
Register by December 20, 2018
- Cook County North Suburban Master Gardener - Request a Youth Program
Register by December 20, 2018
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Extension Educator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
1114 N. Arlington Heights Road
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
Cook North Suburban Master Gardeners
Master Gardener Volunteer Training and Certification Program
PLEASE NOTE: North Suburban Cook County Master Gardener training will not take place in 2017. The next training is scheduled for Fall 2018. For more information e-mail Gemini Bhalsod, at email@example.com or call (847) 201-4176.
Who Are We?
The North Suburban Cook County Master Gardener Program serves the suburban Cook County area north of Roosevelt Road. Master Gardeners are required to do their volunteering in the unit that they train with. There are affiliated, but separate Master Gardener programs in Chicago and in South Suburban Cook County that serve those areas.
The Master Gardener (MG) adult volunteer program is a nationwide program and is supported by the land-grant university in each state. Master Gardeners are a vital link to getting research-based horticultural information to the public through University of Illinois Extension offices. Delivering horticultural education is what we're all about. Master Gardeners have no products or services to sell, so they can provide unbiased, research-based information from the University of Illinois to the public. We serve youth and adults of all ages and backgrounds through our public programming. Much of our programming is free or low cost and we typically bring hands-on and educational programs to community groups of all sorts. The University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.
Upon completion of a Master Gardener's training/internship, MGs are required to volunteer a minimum of 30 hours each year (at least 15 of them must involve interacting with the public to share horticulture-based knowledge) and complete 10 hours of approved continuing education annually.
Master Gardener Training Course
Our next training in North Suburban Cook County will occur in the Fall of 2018. There is currently no online training option being offered.
If you would like our office to keep your email and name on record for our next training announcement, please e-mail Gemini Bhalsod, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Arlington Heights Office (847) 201-4176.
For more information regarding the Chicago Botanic Gardens MG Training, please contact Jill Selinger at 847-835-6849 for more information.
Course Content and Training Information
Master Gardener training consists of 60 hours of face-to-face instruction on botany, soils, fertilizers, turf, vegetables, season extension, tree and small fruits, plant pathology and diseases, pruning, insects, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and pesticide safety, woody plants, perennials, annuals, and natives. The sessions are taught by University of Illinois Specialists and Extension Horticulture Educators. The emphasis of the course content is on practical knowledge and is research-driven. There are weekly quizzes as well as an open-book final comprehensive exam in which students must achieve 80% or better.
Training is typically held one day per week for eleven consecutive weeks from September to November from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The format is in-person classroom training. Format, times, and dates from 2018 training are subject to change from what is outlined. You must be available for all sessions to participate in the face-to-face training. The classes will be held at various locations in/around North Suburban Cook County.
The cost of the in-person North Suburban Cook County Master Gardener training is typically $350.00. The fee includes the Master Gardener Manual, Pest Management for the Home Landscape, supplemental handouts, administrative travel expenses, room rental, educational supplies, certificates, class refreshments, a Universitty of Illinois MG shirt, a MG Trainee name badge, and a permanent certified MG name badge upon completion of your internship.
If you need reasonable accommodations to participate in this program or for more information, please e-mail Gemini Bhalsod, at email@example.com or call the Arlington Heights Office (847) 201-4176.
Master Gardener Internship/Volunteer Component
Upon completion of the 60 hours of classroom/hands-on training, Master Gardener trainees become Master Gardener interns and are required to volunteer at least 60 hours within the North Suburban Cook County unit within two years, including six 3-hour shifts at the Master Gardener Answer Desk at Friendship Park Conservatory or the Arlington Heights Office answering questions from the public in-person, online, and over the phone. Upon completing and recording 60 hours of volunteer time, MG Interns will become a certified Master Gardener. As a volunteer, you are required to undergo all university-required background checks. Volunteers are responsible for recording their volunteer hours along with the demographics of their audience. Volunteering may include staffing MG information booths at community events, Farmer's Markets and Forest Preserve District of Cook County events, presenting programs to community groups, providing technical assistance and training for community or school gardens, providing watershed or worm-composting demonstrations, as well as other horticultural information-sharing activities.
2016 Master Gardener Training
The North Suburban Cook County unit offered Master Gardener training during the fall of 2016. The training was an in-person/face-to-face classroom training with limited hands-on opportunities. The MG training was held on twelve consecutive Tuesdays from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, September 6 through November 22, 2016. Classes were held at the Friendship Park Conservatory, Oak Park Conservatory, Thatcher Woods Pavillion, Evanston Ecology Center, Spring Valley Nature Center, Camp Reinberg, and Skokie Talking Farm.
Master Gardener Public Program Offerings
Youth Program Offerings - Cook County North Suburban Program Request
University of Illinois Extension provides presenters that will engage students in hands-on learning experiences. If you would like to request a program for your Cook County North or Northwest organization, please complete this form indicating your program preferences and preferred dates. All groups requesting programs should have a minimum audience of 15 people. Requests need to be made at least 6 weeks in advance in order to coordinate our staff and volunteers' schedules.
We request a cost recovery fee of $50 for each program in order to cover educational materials for hands-on activities, handouts, and travel expenses. We are willing to work with you based on your available funding. If your organization includes the word "donation" on the memo line of the check, we are able to receive partial matching funds. We greatly appreciate your support and will provide a W-9 and tax-exempt letter. Payments may be mailed to the attention of Gemini Bhalsod at U of I Extension, 1114 N Arlington Heights Road, Suite 201, Arlington Heights, IL 60004. Thank you.
Master Gardener Speakers Bureau - Cook County North Suburban Program Request
University of Illinois Extension provides speakers on a wide range of gardening topics through our Cook North Suburban Master Gardener program listed below. If you would like to request a program for your Cook County North or Northwest organization, please complete this form indicating your program preferences. All groups requesting talks should have a minimum audience of 15 people. Requests need to be made at least 6 weeks in advance in order to coordinate our volunteer' schedules. Donations are greatly appreciated. Donations run $50 to $150 depending on how much the organization can afford. Young organizations just getting started for instance are subsidized by more established and well-financed ones. That way we can serve everyone. Please make out your check to University of Illinois Extension.
Ask a Master Gardener Answer Desk
Friendship Park Conservatory, 395 Algonquin Road, Des Plaines, IL 60016; Phone (847) 298-3502 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (Available April 1- October 31, Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. and Saturdays 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.)
Due to reduction of calls that come into the Master Gardener desk during the winter months (November 1 - March 31), Master Gardeners are available to answer calls on Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Arlington Heights Branch Office, 1114 N. Arlington Heights Road, Suite 201, Arlington Heights, IL 60004; Phone (847) 201-4176 ext. 14 or email email@example.com (Available April 1- October 31, Fridays, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.)
Cook County Farm Bureau, 6438 Joliet Road, Countryside, IL; Phone (708) 354-3276 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (Available April 11- November 14, Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.)
Due to reduction of calls that come into the Master Gardener desk during the winter months the Cook County Farm Bureau desk will be closed between November 15 - April 11.
For more information contact us at:
University of Illinois Extension North Suburban Cook Office
1114 N. Arlington Heights Road, Suite 201
Arlington Heights, IL 60004