Master Gardener Program Update

The Extension Master Gardener Program and its Partners, Purposes and Roles

MSU Extension

  • Continues to invest in the long established Extension Master Gardener (EMG) Program by focusing on what it does best: Education. Both basic Master Gardener training and advanced education opportunities are offered through various training programs throughout the state. (e.g. Master Gardener College, Plants of Distinction, Smart Gardening Conference, and online videos/webinars)
  • Sets the statewide standards for the Extension Master Gardener Program in Michigan.
  • Continues to develop the training manual for basic EMG training courses with chapters including Introduction, Plant Science, Soil Science, Integrated Pest Management, Diagnostics for Master Gardeners, Annual and Perennial Flowers, Lawns, Woody Ornamentals, Tree Fruit, Small Fruit, Vegetables, Indoor Plants, Household and Nuisance Pests, Gardening Practices to Protect Water Quality, Plant Propagation, Backyard Composting, Wildlife Pest Management, and Natural Shoreline Landscapes. This product is continuing to evolve as we explore new technologies to deliver the manual to trainees and certified Extension Master Gardeners in new ways (e.g. e-readers and DVDs).  Print copies are available in black and white or electronic versions are available in color for EMG purchase during the annual re-certification process.
  • Provides access to the Michigan Volunteer Management System (VMS) that not only tracks education and volunteer hours, and tax-deductible mileage, but also enhances two-way EMG communications with project managers, coordinators, local groups, MMGA and MSUE Educators.
  • Enables for a formal re-certification process for Extension Master Gardener volunteers who wish to remain active. The process includes: meeting the volunteer hours (20) and education hours (10) requirement, digitally signing a Code of Conduct Agreement, obtaining liability insurance coverage and paying a $20.00 re-certification fee.
  • Gives recognition to EMGs for basic and advanced certification for Extension Master Gardeners that includes badges, certificates, pins, hour bars, and annual certification cards.
  • Provides targeted volunteer opportunities. (e.g. statewide Lawn & Garden Hotline, diagnostics, Smart Gardening campaign, Ask-an-Expert support, and more)

The Michigan Master Gardener Association (MMGA), Inc.

  • Serves as a collective ‘voice’ for Extension Master Gardeners (EMGs) as a network of volunteers across Michigan.
  • As a non-profit status 501(c)(3) MMGA can be used for fundraising
  • MMGA holds a Michigan license to solicit donations, and an Employee Identification Number (EIN) and other organizational support for affiliated chapters.
  • Offers a platform for communication and promotion of statewide gardening events and activities (both educational and volunteer opportunities).
  • Maintains general liability insurance coverage for its members and affiliate chapters when volunteering as a Extension Master Gardener.
  • Provides discounts on purchases at local retail businesses.
Local Associations and Chapters
  • Serve as a connection for Extension Master Gardener trainees and EMGs for both social and educational opportunities.
  • Communicate opportunities for volunteering.
  • Host events such as plant sales, garden tours, banquets, special speakers, etc.
  • Provide volunteer management  through county MSU Extension Master Gardener Program Coordinators or VMS Ambassadors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 
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