For Organizations

Updated 1/31/2022

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 is revising the Master Gardener Program. Volunteers will be able to continue to serve their community in many of the activities through which they have historically contributed, while expanding their impact in new ways. 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 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:

Subject Matter

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


The volunteer work of Master Gardeners must focus on at least one of three main activities: gardening, educating others, or administration.


  • Invasive Species Management
  • Native Gardens
  • Pollinator Gardens
  • Display/Beautification/Research Gardens 
  • Community/Food Donation Gardens

Educating Others

  • 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 
  • Fundraising

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 Extension Master Gardener Program State Office will list your organization in the Master Gardener 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 (if available)
  • 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.

Contact Us

If you have questions, please contact your local county extension educator, or the State Master Gardener office at

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