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University of Illinois Extension serving Cook County

Main Office (Cook County)
8751 S. Greenwood Avenue, Suites 112-122
Chicago, IL 60619
Phone: 773-768-7779
FAX: 773-768-4818
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Branch Office (Cook County)
1140 N. Lamon
Floor 2
Chicago, IL 60651
Phone: 773-287-8333
FAX: 773-287-8335
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Branch Office (Cook County)
4747 Lincoln Mall Drive
Suite 601
Matteson, IL 60443
Phone: 708-679-6889
FAX: 708-679-6855
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4 pm

Branch Office (Cook County)
3rd District Court House
2121 West Euclid, Room 251
Rolling Meadows, IL 60008
Phone: 847-818-2901
FAX: 847-818-2904
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm

Branch Office (Cook County)
Enterprise Center
2205 Enterprise Drive, Suite 501
Westchester, IL 60154
Phone: 708-449-4320
FAX: 708-492-1805
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4 pm

Branch Office (Cook County)
9415 South Western Avenue, Suite 201
Chicago, IL 60643
Phone: 773-233-2900
FAX: 773-233-9183
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Branch Office (Cook County)
9415 South Western Avenue, Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60643
Phone: 773-651-4011
FAX: 773-651-4047
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Cook County Master Gardeners

Cook County Master Gardeners

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The Illinois Master Gardener program is an educational, volunteer program offered by University of Illinois Extension. The program is designed to increase the availability of university-based horticultural information to local communities and individuals through trained volunteers known as Master Gardeners.

Is it for me? Anyone can become a Master Gardener – you don't need a degree in horticulture! You do, however, need to:

  • Have a sincere desire to learn and share home horticulture information.
  • Have practical experience or knowledge of gardening.
  • Be willing to follow U of I pest control recommendations and home horticulture information.
  • Be able to communicate effectively.
  • Devote time to training sessions and volunteering.

What kind of training will I receive? You will be trained by University of Illinois Extension faculty and learn to apply research based answers to questions about culture of vegetables, herbs, fruits, nuts, lawns, flowers, bulbs, houseplants, trees and shrubs, ornamental grasses and roses as well as management of insects, diseases and other pests.

What must I do in exchange for the training? With the privilege of taking the classes, comes the responsibility of "helping others learn to grow." When you sign up for the program, you make a commitment to give back at least 60 hours of your time volunteering. For example, you can help operate the master gardener telephone hot line, help maintain or provide tours of one of our areas many municipal gardens, or support school teachers with their plans for a school garden. Other options include horticulture therapy, staffing informational booths, giving gardening talks or demonstrations in the community, or providing administrative assistance to the program. Sign up for volunteer opportunities begins during the classes and continues throughout the year. Many master gardeners choose to continue "helping others learn to grow" year after year.

In addition to the excellent training what other benefits are there? As a Master Gardener, you will meet people with common interests, develop enduring friendships, and gain satisfaction and recognition from using your talents to enhance the quality of life for the people you help. You will continue to learn "on the job," and may participate in advanced training opportunities. Active Master Gardeners receive a subscription to IMAGINE newsletter from U of I Extension.

Upon successful completion of this exam, Trainees becomes Interns. A half-day of volunteer orientation may follow the classroom training. After completing sixty hours of volunteer work, Interns are awarded the title of Certified University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener. Interns say they learn as much from the volunteer internship by answering questions as they do during training. The experience is rewarding, enjoyable, and challenging, but not too difficult to master!

  • Ask a Cook County Extension Master Gardener
    Answers to your gardening questions are just a click away. Cook County Master Gardeners will answer your emailed questions. Please provide a detailed description of your problem.

  • Chicago Program
    Find out about volunteer projects and the upcoming Master Gardener training in Chicago.

  • North Suburban Program
    Learn about the volunteer opportunities and upcoming Master Gardener classes in the North Suburbs.

  • South Suburban Program
    Get information on upcoming Master Gardener classes, and the volunteer projects offered in the South Suburbs.