Master Gardener Volunteer Hours and Project Policy

Calculating Master Gardener Hours

Master Gardener volunteers may consider reporting hours trivial, but the importance of this is critical to the success and continued support of the UMaine Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program. Quantifying time invested in these activities and the number of people reached through our activities are important measures that demonstrate the worth of the Master Gardener Volunteer Program. Potential funding is more easily attained when significant efforts and impact can be proven. The volunteer hours reporting period for Cumberland County Master Gardeners is October 1 – September 30 of each calendar year.

Valid Master Gardener Hours

  • Any volunteer time accepted or approved by the local MG coordinator (Extension staff in charge of the local program) counts as volunteer hours. UMaine Extension program coordinators may request some of the volunteer’s time be spent on a specific project or type of volunteer project.
  • Attendance at educational programs where Master Gardener Volunteers are receiving further training does not count as volunteer hours.
  • Travel time to and from a volunteer activity counts toward volunteer hours.


Acceptable Master Gardener projects include garden/environmental exhibits, lectures or public presentations, and garden demonstration projects that are open and accessible to the public. Such activities may also include:

  • Presentations to garden clubs, service organizations, schools and other community groups
  • Writing horticulture related articles for local newspapers, newsletters, magazines, and websites
  • Educational gardening activities such as advising schools or community garden efforts, and projects located at public sites such as parks, historic properties or other public open spaces.
  • Designing and/or producing educational exhibits or teaching aides
  • Participating in special garden-related efforts to reach citizens with disabilities or who are disadvantaged. All projects require the approval of the Master Gardener Program Coordinator.

Use of the Title “Master Gardener”

The title “Master Gardener” should only be used by individuals trained in a Cooperative Extension program.  The title is valid only when used by an active Master Gardener who is participating in a program approved by the local Master Gardener Coordinator.  When an individual ceases to be active in the Master Gardener program, their designation as Master Gardener ceases.

Master Gardeners should not display credentials or give the appearance of being a Master Gardener at a place of business unless that place has been designated as a site for Extension education.  The title “Master Gardener” should not be used in a manner which implies Cooperative Extension endorsement of any product or place of business.

The “Master Gardener” title should be used only when doing unpaid volunteer work for Extension.  When experienced Master Gardeners speak before groups on horticultural subjects, they may accept unsolicited reimbursements (such as reimbursements for expenses) or non-monetary gifts.  If an organization such as a garden club or Adult Education Program offers an honorarium, such funds should be donated to the UMaine Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program in that county to support on-going programs and projects.  It is inappropriate, however, to seek speaking engagements for pay while participating in an authorized Extension activity and using the title Master Gardener.