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Kim Isaacson
Program Coordinator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
100 South US Highway 45
Grayslake, IL 60030
Phone: 847-223-8627
FAX: 847-223-9288

Lake County Master Gardeners

Lake County Master Gardeners

Who We Are

If you enjoy gardening and like to learn and share your gardening knowledge, the Extension Master Gardener program may be for you. All you need is an interest in gardening, an open mind, and a willingness to share knowledge with others.

The task of the Extension Master Gardener is to share unbiased, reliable, research-based information with home landscapers, students and gardeners. Another important function is to encourage young people to enjoy the pleasures and benefits of flower and vegetable growing.

Brief History

The Extension Master Gardener program is an all-volunteer organization sanctioned by the land grant institution in each state and functions as an extension of the college or university. In Illinois, the program is sponsored by University of Illinois Extension.

The Extension Master Gardener program started in Lake County over 25 years ago. Currently, more than 100 Extension Master Gardener volunteers share their expertise throughout our county. To maintain the Extension Master Gardener title, volunteers must remain active in the program.

Becoming an Extension Master Gardener

Attendance at all 12 Extension Master Gardener training classes is required to complete the training. The training series is offered on Fridays, beginning in January of even numbered years. Each class begins at 9 am and concludes at 4 pm.

Extension Master Gardeners participate in more than 60 hours of training on botany, vegetables, lawn care, tree and small fruits, diseases, insects, soils, composting, pesticide safety, fertilizers, pruning, trees and flowers. The sessions are taught by Horticulture experts including University of Illinois specialists and Extension educators. The emphasis of the information is practical, yet research-based.


Cost of the program is approximately $325. This includes the Illinois Extension Master Gardener manual, Pest Management for the Home Landscape Guide and additional training materials used.

In addition to the training commitment, Extension Master Gardener trainees give back at least 60 hours of volunteer time to Lake County Extension programs that first year. See examples of the volunteer opportunities below.


The Extension Master Gardener program offers volunteer opportunities to educate the public in the following areas:

  • "Ask A Master Gardener” horticulture help line via phone and in-person in our office
  • Demonstration gardens (vegetable, ornamental, rain garden)
  • Community gardens
  • School gardens
  • Speaker's Bureau
  • Therapeutic horticulture
  • Community education, programs and events
  • Working with youth through 4-H
  • Project leadership
  • Program support


Applications will be taken through September 15th of the odd numbered years. Because there are not enough resources to accommodate everyone who applies to the program, class size is limited. For consideration in the program, each applicant is required to complete and submit an application, participate in an in-person interview and successfully pass the Extension background check process.

For more information, send an email to the Horticulture Program Coordinator, Kim Isaacson at