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Christopher Enroth
Extension Educator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
3022 W Jackson
Macomb, IL 61455
Phone: 309-837-3939
FAX: 309-833-3019
cenroth@illinois.edu

Amy Pickrel
Program Coordinator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
180 S Soangetaha Rd, Ste 108
Galesburg, IL 61401-5595
Phone: 309-342-5108
FAX: 309-342-1768
apickrel@illinois.edu

Knox County Master Gardeners

Knox County Master Gardeners

Master Gardeners are volunteers who strive to help others learn to grow. Knox County has a strong group of dedicated Master Gardener volunteers helping our communities.

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 about horticulture and share this knowledge 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 increasingly uses trained Master Gardener volunteers to meet the constant demand for horticultural consumer information by citizens of our state. There are currently more than 3,300 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 University of Illinois Extension Service to distribute horticultural information to individuals and groups in local communities
  • Develop and enhance community programs related to horticulture. These programs are educational in nature and may involve environmental improvements, horticulturaltherapy projects, community and school gardening projects, or other programs determined by local need.
  • Develop the leadership potential of Master Gardener volunteers through a volunteer administrative network designed to assist Extension staff in managing local Master Gardener activities and programs.

To become a Master Gardener, you must fill out and submit an application to your local Extension Unit. After the local coordinator reviews the application, you may be invited for a short interview. Following acceptance into the program, the trainee begins the core training. This includes daytime classes taught once a week for 11 weeks, beginning in mid to late January. Attendance for all 11 classes is mandatory. Classes are taught by University of Illinois specialists and extension educators. Class topics include Botany, Soils, Vegetables, Fruits, Flowers, Trees and Shrubs, Grasses, Landscaping, Insects, and Diseases. A fee, which is determined by the local coordinator, is charged for the training and includes a training manual. Upon successful completion of the classroom training units and passing the final exam, you will become a Master Gardener Intern. The internship consists of fulfilling volunteer hours approximately equal to the number of hours of classroom training received (60 hours). Certified Master Gardeners are those who have completed their classroom training and internship. To be an active Master Gardener you must remain current in annual educational updates (a minimum of 10 hours) and volunteer service hours (a minimum of 30 hours) required by the local program.