For Organizations

The following information is intended for local organizations that benefit from volunteer activities and education provided by Master Gardeners.

If you are a Master Gardener looking for volunteer organization qualifications, review “What Counts and How to Count it” from Onboarding-Lite in the Master Gardener Canvas Classroom [NetID required].

The UW-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 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 activities and education provided by Master Gardeners. The Extension Master Gardener Program only accepts a participant’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.
  • Are NOT out-of-state organizations

Examples include schools, municipalities, botanical gardens, community groups, faith-based organizations, hospitals, garden clubs, and similar not-for-profit organizations. 

Appropriate 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


Master Gardeners continue to serve their community through many activities. The volunteer activities 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

Educating Others

  • Information Booth/Table
  • Teaching Program
  • Education Support
  • 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 Organization’s Responsibility

Master Gardeners are considered volunteers of the organization for which they provide volunteer service. 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. Refer to the Master Gardener Program Liability statement

Promotion, Recruitment, & Management

The promotion of your organization, recruitment of volunteers, and management of activities is your responsibility, not the responsibility of the Master Gardener Program State Office.

The Master Gardener Program State Office will list your organization in our online reporting system. This allows Master Gardeners who volunteer for your organization to report their hours. 

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, understand, and follow the policies of your organization. Additionally, individuals have agreed to this Code of Ethics when acting as a Master Gardener.

Information Requests

Published organizations in the Master Gardener Programs online reporting system may request data for individuals who report volunteer hours for their organization. No requests will be accepted between Jan. 1 – March 31 and the month of December in any given year. Requests should come from the organization contact listed in our online reporting system. That person may request:

  1. Individuals who reported hours volunteering at the organization, including contact information.
  2. An individual’s volunteer service hours specific to the organization (annual and/or cumulative hours).
  3. Summary of volunteer hours specific to that organization by category and activity.

To request information organization contacts will need to submit requests to Requests must 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.

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact the State Master Gardener office at

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