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University of Illinois Extension serving Cook County

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

1114 N. Arlington Heights Road
Suite 201
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
Phone: 847-201-4176
FAX: 847-201-4175
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

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

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

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

Cook County
8753 South Greenwood Avenue Suite 100
Chicago, IL 60619
Phone: 773-233-2900
FAX: 773-233-9183
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

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!