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The following information is provided to local organizations which benefit from the garden-related volunteer activities and education provided by Master Gardeners.
If you are a Master Gardener you must review the Master Gardener Program Onboarding documents for complete program policies and guidelines. Go to Canvas Classroom [NetID required].
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension revised the Master Gardener Program in January 2022. Master Gardeners are not automatically volunteers for the Division of Extension. Master Gardeners are considered the volunteers of the organization for which they provide volunteer service. Therefore, it is important for organizations to review the following information:
The Purpose of the Master Gardener Program
“To support a network of individuals dedicated to horticulture education, service, and lifelong learning. Through unbiased University research-based horticulture training they are equipped to address needs and opportunities in their community and throughout the state.”
Organizations Working with Master Gardeners
Local organizations benefit from the garden-related volunteer activities and education provided by Master Gardeners. The Extension Master Gardener Program only accepts a volunteer’s service hours from organizations in Wisconsin who:
- Provide a public benefit.
- Are NOT a private/commercial business or a for-profit organization.
- Do NOT engage in discriminatory practices.
Examples include schools, municipalities, botanical gardens, community groups, faith-based organizations, hospitals, garden clubs, and similar not-for-profit organizations.
Subject Matter and Activities
Master Gardeners reports hours of volunteer service to be eligible for program recognition. Master Gardeners can only report hours on the following subjects and activities:
Master Gardeners focus on items that are related to the growing and maintenance of terrestrial plants (i.e. ornamental and edible plants). This includes:
- Plant identification, growth and functioning
- Soils, soil health, composting, and plant nutrition
- Pest management with emphasis on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices for plant diseases, weeds, insects, and nuisance wildlife
- Selecting and maintaining ornamental plants, including native and cultivated varieties
- Selecting and maintaining edible plants, including how to harvest crops and post-harvest handling
- Landscape design
- Growing plants in containers
- Other topics related to growing terrestrial plants
Volunteers continue to serve their community through many activities. The volunteer work of Master Gardeners must focus on at least one of three main categories: gardening, educating others, or administration.
- Invasive Species Management
- Native Gardens
- Pollinator Gardens
- Display/Beautification/Research Gardens
- Community/Food Donation Gardens
- Information Booth/Table
- Teaching Program
- Education Support
- Social Media and Website Content
- Creating Education Materials
- Answering Garden Questions
(Must be directly related to horticulture/gardening)
- Boards and committees
In the capacity of a Master Gardener, some subject matter and activities are considered Out of Bounds. It is the responsibility of the Master Gardener to determine what is eligible for reporting to the Master Gardener Program.
Your Organizations’ Responsibility
Master Gardeners are considered volunteers of the organization for which they provide volunteer service. That means they are your volunteers. University liability protection is not attached to an individual’s participation as a Master Gardener or the title of Extension Master Gardener. Liability protection provided by the University does not extend to volunteer service performed for any other groups or organizations with which Extension Master Gardeners may volunteer.
Promotion, Recruitment, & Management
The Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener Program State Office will list your organization in the Master Gardener online reporting system. This will allow Master Gardeners volunteering for your organization to report hours.
The promotion of your organization, the recruitment of volunteers, and the management of activities is your responsibility, and not the responsibility of the Master Gardener Program State Office.
Adding Your Organization
A Master Gardener must submit your organization through our online reporting system for it to be added.
The following information is required:.
- Organization name, mailing address, and website
- Organization staff contact name and title, phone number, and email
Code of Ethics
Master Gardeners are required to know and understand the policies of your organization.
Additionally, individuals have agreed to this Code of Ethics when acting as a Master Gardener.
Published organizations in the Master Gardener Programs online reporting system may request data for individuals who report volunteer hours for their organization. Requests will be accepted starting on August 14, 2023. No requests will be accepted between January 1 – March 31 and the month of December in any given year. Requests should come from the organization contact listed in the ORS. They may request:
- Individual’s who reported hours volunteering at the organization, including contact information.
- An individual’s volunteer service hours specific to the organization (annual and/or cumulative hours).
- Summary of volunteer hours specific to that organization by category and activity.
To request information organization contacts will need to submit requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Requests need to detail what information is being requested (#1, 2, and/or 3 listed above).
- One request per calendar year will be honored.
- Annual and cumulative hours data will be available on or about April 1 for the prior data year. e.g. Annual and cumulative data for 2022 will be available April 1, 2023.
- We can only provide the most recent year for annual hours and cumulative hours. Detailed historical data is not available.
- Please allow 10-15 business days to process.
If you have questions, please contact your local county extension educator, or the State Master Gardener office at email@example.com