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Debbie Boley
Office Support Assistant
University of Illinois Extension
118 N. Sixth Street
Vandalia, IL 62471
Phone: 618-283-2753
FAX: 618-283-4932

Cathy Schnepper
Office Support Associate
University of Illinois Extension
223 W Railroad St
Flora, IL 62839
Phone: 618-662-3124
FAX: 618-662-3191

Fayette County Master Gardeners

Fayette County Master Gardeners

What is the Master Gardener Program?

The Master Gardener program, sponsored by University of Illinois Extension, provides training for adult volunteers who help disseminate up-to-date, research-based horticulture information to home gardeners.

Why become a Master Gardener?

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. Master Gardeners also have a unique opportunity to share and learn from other Master Gardeners.

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 starting in January. Sessions are led by University of Illinois Extension Educators and other horticultural experts. An online option if also available. A total of 66 hours of instruction is required in the program. For specific information about dates, times and locations, view our training schedule.

What is the Cost and What Will I Learn?

You will be asked to pay a fee to help cover the cost of materials. This includes the Master Gardener manual, that is yours to keep, which consists of two large notebooks filled with helpful resources and reference publications. During the training program you will learn many different facets of indoor and outdoor gardening. A comination of classroom instruction and devonstrations are used to present information about topics such as:

  • Basic Botany Composting Diseases
  • Fertilizers Fruits Flowers
  • Houseplants Insects Lawns
  • Pesticide safety Pruning Soils
  • Trees & Shrubs Vegetables

What will I do as a Volunteer?

Master Gardeners learn to be effective volunteers. There are many ways you can fulfill your commitment of at least 60 volunteer hours. A few suggestions follow:

  • Answer home gardener questions in the Extension office
  • Create and maintain demonstration gardens
  • Conduct gardening programs for children and seniors
  • Give talks to groups interested in horticulture
  • Assist in planning and teaching at gardening workshops
  • Maintain a garden or collect produce for Plant a Row for the Hungry
  • Conduct Junior Master Gardener classes for youth
  • Assist in preparing and staffing exhibits and displays
  • Serve as a mentor for new Master Gardener Interns
  • Write, edit Master Gardener Newsletters