The Master Gardener Program is a public service program offered by the Cooperative Extension Service that provides university training to volunteers for the purpose of enabling them to serve their communities through horticulture, gardening, and pest management. The first Master Gardener Program was initiated in the state of Washington in 1973 by Extension agents in response to a burgeoning interest in horticulture from citizens in the urban areas. The program's objective was to train volunteers to help Extension meet the overwhelming demand for information on horticulture, gardening, and plant problems. Volunteers participated in a series of science-based educational sessions that included many aspects of horticulture and related topics. Then, in return for this training, they assisted local Extension personnel in providing information and education.
Today there are Master Gardener Programs affiliated with most land-grant universities throughout the United States. Today’s Master Gardener volunteers continue to join Extension educators in sharing their knowledge of and enthusiasm for gardening to meet crucial needs within their state and their local communities. Master Gardener volunteers make it their mission to educate local community members in applying horticultural science to manage their landscapes and gardens in a science-based, sustainable manner. They address environmental and social priorities such as water conservation, the protection of water quality, reducing the impact of invasive species, increasing public awareness of the value of home and public landscapes, and the opportunities for healthy living through gardening. Contact the Extension office in your area for details on how to become involved in the Master Gardener Program.
Many Master Gardener programs maintain Web sites. To find one for your state, go to: Master Gardener