National Extension Master Gardener Mission and Standards

Extension Master Gardener May 03, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

Our National Mission: Extension Master Gardener programs educate people, engaging them in learning to use unbiased, research-based horticulture and gardening practices through a network of trained volunteers directed and supported by land-grant university faculty and staff.

Our National Standards: Extension Master Gardener programs are networks of land-grant university-trained volunteers, distinguished by the standards listed below.  To achieve greater consistency in program management and the volunteer experience across the Cooperative Extension system nationally, state Extension Master Gardener programs will strive to meet these standards and ensure they are reflected in the statewide program.

Program Structure and Expectation Standards

  • has an established statewide organizational system
  • establishes state program goals that align to achieve the EMG program mission
  • engages in Extension-approved projects and programs designed to educate the public about horticulture and gardening
  • is accountable to state Extension leadership and local stakeholders
  • shows documented educational impact in local communities that demonstrates behavior change and public value
  • follows the Equal Opportunity Guidelines for their state and/or university

Volunteer Management and Preparedness Standards

  • uses recognized volunteer management practices
  • incorporates a system for volunteer leadership and development
  • uses an established state training curriculum (A suggested core curriculum includes Botany, Physiology, Soils, Basic Pathology, Entomology, Weeds, IPM, Vegetables, Fruits, Turf, Woody Ornamentals, Herbaceous Ornamentals, Composting, Diagnostics and Troubleshooting, Planting and Maintenance, Introduction to Extension Master Gardener Program, and Record Keeping and Reporting)
  • requires a measurement of volunteer competency following completion of state training program
  • requires volunteer service hour; 40-hour volunteer service minimum in the initial training year and 20-hour volunteer service minimum in subsequent years
  • requires annual continuing education and professional development hours; 10 hours minimum annually in years following initial training
  • uses an annual recertification criteria and process

[The Extension Master Gardener national mission statement and program standards were developed by the Extension Master Gardener Task Force in 2013, and adopted by the Extension Master Gardener National Committee in January, 2014.  More information on the development of the mission statement and standards is available in a Journal of Extension article.]

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.