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Why become a University of Idaho Extension Master Gardener Volunteer?

Today, nearly 80% of households in the U.S. participate in gardening. From small balcony gardens to large community gardens, many citizens today learn how to garden from information gleaned off the internet. Although the internet is full of useful information about gardening, it can be difficult to discern between good information and bad information- even for the expert gardener.

That is where the University of Idaho Extension Master Gardener Volunteers are able to assist. Our trained volunteers provide residents of their community answers to gardening questions, and solve gardening problems by providing them with reliable, relevant, and research-based information.

University of Idaho Extension Master Gardener Volunteers provide a valuable resource by helping educate Idaho’s citizens about the art and science of growing and caring for plants and landscapes in a scientifically sustainable way.

Extension Master Gardener Volunteers not only learn important gardening skills, they also develop a deeper understanding of important life skills such as conflict resolution, resource utilization, communication, leadership, goal setting, critical thinking and problem-solving, marketing, healthy lifestyle choices, stress and disease management, lifelong learning skills, and more!

In 2017, its Idaho-only and joint Idaho-Utah programs graduated 499 new University of Idaho Extension Master Gardener Volunteers and delivered enhanced training and service opportunities to 209 Advanced Master Gardener Volunteers.

University of Idaho Extension apprentice, certified, and advanced Master Gardener Volunteers donated over 17,200 hours of volunteer time—a value of about $416,118 in 2017.

University of Idaho Extension Master Gardener Volunteer programs are open to anyone who is interested in becoming a volunteer and sharing gardening knowledge with the public through community outreach and education. Volunteers bring a diverse background of knowledge and experience and enrich the program in their community by:

  • Operating free plant diagnostic clinics in their county extension office
  • Mentoring youth in youth community and school gardens
  • Writing for newspapers
  • Teaching community gardening classes and workshops
  • Maintaining websites, blogs, and actively sharing information through social media outlets
  • Maintaining demonstration and mentoring at community gardens
  • Leading 4-H clubs, after-school programs, and Junior Master Gardener classes
  • Writing books and brochures for the public

Some volunteers even have their own radio or television shows or have launched successful careers in the horticulture industry as a result of becoming a University of Idaho Extension Master Gardener Volunteer!

How are University of Idaho Extension Master Gardener Volunteers making a difference in their communities?

  • Teaching environmentally sustainable horticulture practices
  • Prediction and detection of landscape pests
  • Helping gardeners reduce fertilizer and pesticide use
  • Teaching conservation and water wise landscape concepts
  • Reduce landfill waste by teaching composting

Junior Master Gardener
Interested in youth gardening, or starting a school garden? Chose from dozens of fun dirty-hands projects that promote a love of gardening, develop an appreciation for the environment and cultivate the mind.