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As you begin your time with the Master Gardener Program, we want to start off by saying “Thank you!” for choosing to give your time and talents in volunteer service. As a volunteer for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension, you will become an important resource in your community as you help others make good gardening decisions based on university research.

This course achieves three important steps in becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer in Wisconsin:

  • Serves as an orientation to UW-Madison Division of Extension and reviews the scope of being an Extension volunteer in the Master Gardener Program.
  • Allows you to complete the enrollment process to become an Extension volunteer in the Master Gardener Program.
  • Provides the horticulture exam for you to demonstrate a baseline of horticultural knowledge.
  • After successfully completing all steps of this onboarding experience, you will be awarded your Volunteer Agreement, volunteer position description, and be cleared to begin work on approved projects.

The onboarding course does NOT provide training in horticulture content. We require completion of the Foundations in Horticulture course.

Becoming a Volunteer in the Master Gardener Program

We accept new volunteers based on current ability to provide support and available volunteer opportunities. The following counties are accepting new volunteers for the Master Gardener Program in 2022.  You must live in or adjacent to the county you are applying to be in.

  • Adams County
  • Brown County
  • Burnett County
  • Chippewa County
  • Crawford County
  • Dane County
  • Dunn County
  • Eau Claire County
  • Grant County
  • Iron County
  • Jefferson
  • Kenosha County
  • Lacrosse County
  • Marathon County
  • Marinette County
  • Milwaukee County

  • Oconto County
  • Ozaukee County
  • Pierce County
  • Portage County
  • Racine County
  • Rock County
  • Sawyer County
  • Sheboygan County
  • St. Croix County
  • Walworth Counties
  • Washburn County
  • Washington County
  • Waukesha County
  • Wood County

If your county is not listed above, it is recommended that you do not register for the MG Onboarding course because your county is not accepting new volunteers.

Prior to registering for the “Master Gardener Program Volunteer Onboarding” online course, you must connect with Extension staff from the county to learn more about the local opportunities available to you as a volunteer.  Details of open houses dates and times will be provided when registered for the Foundations in Horticulture course. 

  • The Volunteer Onboarding registration link is only provided to applicants after meeting with your county in which you are applying. Do not forward that link to anyone. Connecting with a county is a requirement to successfully complete the onboarding process. 

Registration opens early January. The deadline to register for the course is March 15. You must complete the course by March 31. No refunds are available after you register or if not completed by the deadline.


During the onboarding course, you must review and agree to various forms and agreements. Two very important ones are being shared with you to review prior to registration. No action is required now.

Additionally, during the course you must complete a criminal background check which requires your social security number and to complete our mandated reporter training for youth protection.

Getting Your Username and Logging In

After completing your County Open House meeting you will receive registration information via email.  Follow those instructions to register for the course and to receive a UW netID to access the Canvas course. If you completed Foundations in Horticulture, you will continue to use that assigned netID.

READ Enrollment in Extension Online Courses