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Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteers

Since 1979, North Carolina Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteers (EMGVs) have been leaders in this internationally acclaimed program, guiding homeowners in making environmentally sound decisions in their landscapes. Trained by NC State faculty and staff, EMGVs provide research-based information about gardening and environmental stewardship to individuals and communities across the state. EMGVs engage the community through education and outreach on a wide variety of subjects and through a broad spectrum of projects, all designed to maximize their impact.

2021 Training Schedule

  1. Attend an Information Session

The first step in becoming a Master Gardener Extension Volunteersm in Randolph County is attending an Information Session. During this session you will learn what it means to be an EMG and more about the training and volunteer requirements for the program. This will also help you decide if becoming an EMG is the right choice for you. Our first Information Sessions have passed, but you can still watch a recording of the Information Session by registering here.

  1. Attend 5 of 6 Backyard Gardener Classes

Recordings of the Backyard Gardener Classes are available to individuals who are committed to becoming an EMG in Randolph County. Classes include: Lawns in Central, Growing Fruits & Berries, Growing Vegetables, Growing Culinary Herbs, Gardening for Pollinators, and Landscaping with Natives. If you missed this initial training, videos can be accessed on-demand here until July 31. All additional materials mentioned in the videos available only upon request.

  1. Get Involved in Summer Activities and Projects

Summer activities are a great way to get to know your fellow volunteers and increase your knowledge and skills. We will update you on summer activities when COVID precautions for that time period are more predictable.

  1. Submit your Applications by Monday, August 2, 2021

Applications are due by Monday, August 2, 2021. A background check is required as part of the application process and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Download the fillable PDF Application

Download a printable PDF Application

  1. Attend Orientation

An orientation session for participants accepted into the program will be held on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Online vs. in person to be determined.

All program fees must be paid before, or at this time. Any payments for the Backyard Gardener Courses will count toward your total payment for training. Fees include: $65 county fee (lifetime access to interactive EMG Handbook, name tag, printed materials, some refreshments) and a $50 state fee that is sent to NC State to support this program. Total cost of joining the program is $115 and there are no fees required after these initial payments.

  1. Complete Core EMG Training

Core training classes will be held in the fall and will focus on skills you will need as a volunteer and how to use your knowledge to teach others. These classes will be conducted both virtually and in-person if is safe to do so at that time. We will be using the TopHat Interactive Version of the Extension Master Gardener Handbook. Basic computer literacy will be required for participating in this course. Volunteers may purchase a hardcover copy of the book through our office for $42.00, (30% discount) plus shipping and tax. This resource is available for free online. Additionally, a hardcover copy of this resource will be donated to the Randolph County Public Library System and will be accessible to anyone with a Randolph County Public Library card!

Core Training Topics (subject to change)

Tuesday, September 14 – Tuesday, November 16

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

  • Extension resources and finding research-based information
  • Botany and plant ID
  • EMG Meeting (date TBD)
  • Soils and fertilizers
  • Plant diseases
  • Landscape design
  • EMG Meeting (date TBD)
  • Integrated pest management
  • Weed ID and management
  • Volunteer roles
  • Final review and take-home exam – ATTENDANCE REQUIRED
  • EMG Meeting, graduation ceremony

One or two field trips may be scheduled based on participants’ availability and COVID precautions. Field trip locations may include the NC Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill, and a visit the NC Department of Agriculture’s Agronomic Services Lab and NC State’s JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh.

  1. Volunteer!

Volunteers will complete a 40-hour internship within one year of completing their training. Trainees are encouraged to begin volunteering during the training course by assisting with a class project. The variety of volunteer opportunities available in horticulture education is endless! Master Gardeners will work with their local Extension Agent to determine which opportunities will make the most of their time, interests, and talents to meet the needs of Cooperative Extension’s Educational Programs. Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Diagnosing plant, insect, and disease problems
  • Staffing plant clinics and educational exhibits
  • Creating and maintaining demonstration gardens
  • Giving lectures on gardening
  • Visiting local schools to develop gardens and teach gardening skills to youth
  1. Recertify Annually and Continue your Education

The minimum requirements for remaining an EMG in this county are completing a minimum of 20 hours of volunteer service in Randolph County each year, plus 10 hours of continuing education each year.

Contact Us

To place your name on a list of those interested in becoming an Extension Master Gardener please contact Annie Mills via email or phone at 336.318.6003.