Contact Us

Adam Feig
County Extension Director
University of Illinois Extension
#2B Frontier Dr
Fairfield, IL 62837
Phone: 618-842-3702
FAX: 618-842-4725

Master Gardeners

Master Gardeners

What Is the Master Gardener Program?

Sponsored by University of Illinois Extension, the Master Gardener program trains adult volunteers to help disseminate up-to-date, research-based horticulture information to home gardeners.

Why Become a Master Gardener?

From the trees along our city streets to flowers in backyard gardens, horticulture affects everyone. Gardening enriches people's lives and communities. As a Master Gardener, you'll learn about environmentally sound and practical gardening techniques specific to your growing area. You'll also play an important role in sharing that information with others in your community.

What Qualifications Do I Need?

Anyone can become a Master Gardener--it does not require 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 Does the Training Involve?

Training sessions are typically offered one day a week over a four-month period and are led by University of Illinois Extension educators and other horticultural experts. An online option is also available. A total of 66 hours of instruction is required to complete the program.

What Is the Cost and What Will I Learn?

You'll be asked to pay a fee to help cover the cost of materials. This includes the Master Gardener manual, that is yours to keep, and consists of two large notebooks filled with helpful resources and reference publications. During the training program, you'll learn about many different facets of indoor and outdoor gardening.

A combination of classroom instruction and demonstrations is used to present information about topics such as:

basic botany









pesticide safety



trees and shrubs


Volunteer Opportunities

Master Gardeners learn to be effective volunteers. There are many ways you can fulfill your commitment of at least 60 intern hours:

  • answer home gardener questions in the Extension office.
  • serve as a team member with U of I Extension staff to plan and present consumer horticulture information.
  • serve as a resource person in community gardens at schools, parks and nursing homes.
  • assist in preparing and staffing exhibits, displays and demonstration sites.
  • give demonstrations and talks to local civic groups.