How to Apply/General Information

2020 Master Gardener Volunteer Training Course

  • Dates: Mondays, January 27 – June 8 (excluding holidays)
  • Time: 1:00 – 4:30 p.m.
  • Location: UMaine Extension Oxford County office (for most classes), 9 Olson Road, South Paris, Maine
  • Application: Training is currently full, please email to be added to a waiting list.

Please complete the application paying close attention to each of the questions. A letter of reference (letters cannot be from a spouse, partner, or family member) must accompany your application in order for it to be complete. Your application may be filled out online, mailed, faxed, e-mailed or dropped off in person at the Extension Office in South Paris (typed responses are preferred).

  • Deadline: Training is currently full, applications will be added to a waiting list in the event of cancellations.
  • Cost: $220 per person (financial assistance is available

Training Materials

The online Master Gardener Volunteers Manual is a collection of bulletins, chapters, and links that have been carefully selected to provide you with timely, in-depth, and applied information on a number of important horticultural topics. This format will allow you to access new and updated materials long after your training. Please contact the Extension Office if you have any concerns regarding your ability to access the online manual for the training.


  • Session 1: Jan. 27 – What is the MGV program and what do we do?
  • Session 2: Feb. 3 – Soils with Rebecca Long, Extension Agriculture Professional
  • Session 3: Feb. 10 – Compost with Mark Hutchinson, Extension Professor
  • Session 4: Feb. 24 – Botany 1 with Frank Wertheim, Extension Educator
  • Session 5: Mar. 2 – Botany 2 with Frank Wertheim, Extension Educator
  • Session 6: Mar. 9 – Vegetables 1 with Mark Hutton, Extension Vegetable Specialist
  • Session 7: Mar. 16 – Vegetables 2 with Mark Hutton, Extension Vegetable Specialist
  • Session 8: Mar. 23 – Small Fruit 1 with David Handley, Extension Small Fruit Specialist
  • Session 9: Mar. 30 – Small Fruit 2/Food Safety, with David Handley, Extension Small Fruit Specialist
  • Session 10: Apr. 6 – Tree Fruit with Renae Moran, Extension Tree Fruit Specialist
  • Session 11: Apr. 13 – Plant Diseases with Alicyn Smart, Extension Plant Pathologist
  • Session 12: Apr. 27 – Insect Pests with Clay Kirby, Extension Entomologist
  • Session 13: May 4 – Ornamental Horticulture with Matt Wallhead, Extension Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
  • Session 14: May 11 – Understanding the Fascinating Life Cycle of Native Plants with Heather McCargo, Executive Director of Wild Seed Project
  • Session 15: May 18 – Pesticide Safety with John Pietroski Manager of Pesticides Programs for Maine Board of Pesticides Control
  • Session 16: June 1 – Volunteerism with Liz Stanley, Extension Horticulture Community Education Assistant
  • Session 17: June 8 – Final Exam

*schedule is subject to change

For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Rebecca Long ( 207.743.6329 or 1.800.287.1481 (in Maine).

Thank you for your interest in becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer in Oxford County.

What is the Master Gardener Program?

The Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a national program and in Maine is part of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. The overall objective of the Master Gardener Program is to educate home gardeners, address community efforts related to horticulture and support the educational mission of the UMaine Extension. The mission of the UMaine Extension is to help Maine people improve their lives through an educational process that uses research-based knowledge focused on issues and needs.

Individuals apply for enrollment in the Master Gardener Volunteer training program to learn about horticulture. This training involves both classroom and hands-on experience. After their basic training, Master Gardeners volunteer a minimum of 40 hours of their time to develop, adapt and extend research-based horticultural information and educational programs to the residents of their respective county. Trainees will become certified Master Gardener Volunteers after successful completion of the training and 40-hours of volunteer time in an approved outreach project. Acceptable 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.


Any resident of Maine interested in studying horticulture and volunteering in community gardening projects are encouraged to apply to the Master Gardener Volunteer Program. Since we usually receive more applications than we can accommodate, applications are subject to screening for county residence and gardening and community service experience.

If you are a person with a disability and will need an accommodation to participate in this program, please contact the Master Gardener Program Coordinator prior to the start of the training to assure the fullest possible attention to your needs. Receiving requests for accommodations at least 14 days before the program provides a reasonable amount of time to meet the request, however, all requests will be considered.

Initial Training

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension will provide a minimum of 40 hours of Master Gardener volunteer training. Training will be interactive with lecture, hands-on learning demonstrations, and self-directed learning activities. Class participation, discussions, presentations, and quizzes will be used to monitor the progress of volunteers.


The title of Certified Master Gardener Volunteer is awarded to participants who successfully complete both the training program and the 40 hours of volunteer time within a specified time. Participants must attend at least 80% of all training sessions; demonstrate knowledge and skills by achieving at least an overall average score of 70%. Individuals requiring special accommodation should make arrangements with the county Master Gardener Coordinator.

Master Gardener Hours

  • Any volunteer time accepted or approved by the local Master Gardener coordinator (UMaine 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.

Any questions regarding what constitutes volunteer time should be directed to the local Master Gardener Program coordinator.

Continuing Certification

Master Gardener Volunteers who wish to remain certified and active in the program must continue to volunteer at least 20 hours per year. There is no fee for continuing as a Master Gardener Volunteer. Master Gardener Volunteers may make arrangements with the coordinator for a temporary leave of absence.

Time/Activity Records

Master Gardener Volunteers are required to complete a monthly time log to report their activities, time spent, and contacts made.

Pesticide Recommendations

Because UMaine Extension is liable for its advice, and because pesticide recommendations for organic or synthetic products change constantly, only UMaine Extension personnel may recommend pesticides when representing UMaine Extension.

Fee: $220

There is a fee for the basic Master Gardener Training course. This fee covers expenses that include reference materials, supplies and meeting expenses. The fee is due on the first day of class following acceptance in the program (if necessary, other payment arrangements can be made). If the fee is a barrier to an individual, he or she may contact the county Master Gardener Coordinator. Limited financial assistance is available. Contact your county UMaine Extension Master Gardener Program Coordinator for more information.

Fee: The fee for the course is $220. Do not send payment with your application. (Limited financial assistance and payment arrangements will be made available to those in need.)

If you are a person with a disability and need an accommodation to participate in this program, please call Rebecca Long 207.743.6329 or 1.800.287.1481 (in Maine) to discuss your needs. Receiving requests for accommodations at least 10 days before the program provides a reasonable amount of time to meet the request, however, all requests will be considered.