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Ryan Pankau
Extension Educator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
801 North Country Fair Drive
Suite D
Champaign, IL 61821
Phone: 217-333-7672
FAX: 217-333-7683

Champaign County Master Gardeners

Champaign County Master Gardeners

Becoming a Master Gardener

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 learn about environmentally sound and practical gardening techniques specific to your growing area. You’ll also play an important role in sharing 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. If you have a passion for nature, environmental stewardship, food production, and the benefits of beautiful gardens then consider taking Master Gardener training.

What does 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. During training, volunteers learn about many different facets of indoor and outdoor gardening.

Master Gardener training for 2018 will be held at the Champaign County Extension office. Click here to download the schedule.

We are now accepting applications for 2018 training. Click here to download the application. Or follow this link to apply online.

What is the cost and what will I learn?

Training costs $200 to cover the cost of materials. This includes the award winning Master Gardener Manual which is yours to keep. 

A combination of classroom instruction and demonstrations is used to present information on the following topics:

Botany                                              Compost                               Diseases

Fertilizers                                           Fruits                                   Flowers

Houseplants                                       Insects                                 Lawns

Pesticide                                           Safety                                   Pruning                

Trees and shrubs                               Vegetables                            Soils

For a complete schedule for 2018, click here to download. 

How do I apply?

Master Gardener training takes place in the winter. You can apply online or click here to download an application.

Part of the application process is a 15-minute informal, in-person interview with current Master Gardener. Upon acceptance into the program, you must attend approximately 70 hours of classroom instruction. These sessions are typically offered one day a week over 11 weeks and are led by expert educators in the region. After training, you must pass a comprehensive, open-book exam based on the classroom instruction. Once completing training, volunteers are required to complete 60 volunteer hours within two years of training.

To maintain your certification in subsequent years, you must complete 10 hours of continuing education and 30 hours of volunteer activities annually.

Is there online training?

Contact State Program Coordinator, Sandy Mason for more information regarding online training.