The MSU Extension Master Gardener Program is an adult horticulture education and volunteer leader training program committed to improving science based horticulture information in communities throughout the state.

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Welcome to the Main MSU Extension Master Gardener® Page!

Current Updates (4-27-2022)

We have begun to update our webpages to be more user-friendly and informative to MSU Extension Master Gardeners® and those interested in our program.  Thanks for your patience as we do this!

We will be using this webpage for time-sensitive updates/opportunities and creating additional pages to help MSU Extension Master Gardeners® create projects and report hours in the MSU Volunteer Central System (VC). In the meantime, reach out to your local MSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Educator for assistance.

The 2022 hours requirements are 20 volunteer hours and 10 education hours but be sure to check your hour goal in Volunteer Central in the event you are catching up on previous hours, too.  Note: Trainees need to achieve 40 volunteer hours to become certified.  All hours, EMG or trainee, must be reported prior to December 1, 2022, in order to be eligible to re-certify in January 2023. 

Also note that there will be no new MSU Extension Master Gardener® trainings until 2023 as we reformulate our curricula.

Sarah Rautio, MSU Extension Master Gardener State Leader, Melissa Haug, MSU EMG Program Assistant, MSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Team


The original Extension Master Gardener (EMG) Program was created at Washington State University in 1972. Today, Extension Master Gardener programs are offered across the nation as well as in nine Canadian provinces and South Korea. For an overall perspective of the national program, refer to the following document: EMG_National_Report_2018.pdf

Michigan State University Extension offered its first Master Gardener Program in 1978. Since this time, well over 40,000 residents from 80 Michigan counties have been involved in the MSU Extension Master Gardener Program. In 2018, 3,507 Extension Master Gardener volunteers provided over 157,430 volunteer hours and reported an additional 616,306 contacts with Michigan citizens.  Through their volunteer outreach, EMGs shared science-based, environmentally-sound gardening knowledge and engaged citizens and empowered communities in the following areas:

  • environmentally responsible gardening practices (examples: educating others on pollinators and native plants, invasive species, environmentally-friendly pest management strategies, and protecting and preserving water resources)
  • improving food security (examples: teaching citizens how to grow their own food and providing technical assistance and mentorship for community food gardens and giving gardens)
  • improving community and quality of life (examples: providing gardening classes for citizens with specials needs, senior centers, assisting local beautification boards)
  • developing youth through gardening (examples: teaching Junior Master Gardener class, assisting teachers and community members with school gardens and after-school programs)

While direct impacts are difficult to measure, using data established by the Independent Sector, the economic value of these volunteer hours equates to over $3.89 Million. The value of miles driven (918,274 miles) in support of volunteer educational outreach equates to an additional $128,558 million contribution. In total, the MSU Extension Master Gardener Program’s economic contribution to the State of Michigan in 2018 was $4.02 million! Click here for the 2018 Statewide Summary Report.

Being in the Extension Master Gardener Program requires only an enthusiasm for gardening and a willingness and commitment to volunteer, sharing science based education. Applicants attend training classes to learn basic horticulture principles and environmentally sound practices. Once they complete at least 40 hours of education focused community-based service in Michigan, they earn the title of certified Michigan State University Extension Master Gardener.

Through continued education, knowledge sharing and creation of more livable communities, the MSU Extension Master Gardener program continues to make the Great Lakes State one of the most diversely beautiful states in the country.