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Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteers

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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 Volunteer℠ 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 Information Sessions have passed for 2021.

2. Attend 5 of 6 Backyard Gardener Classes

The next date for the Backyard Gardener Classes is to be determined. Classes include: Lawns in Central, Growing Fruits & Berries, Growing Vegetables, Growing Culinary Herbs, Gardening for Pollinators, and Landscaping with Natives.

3. Submit your Applications

Applications have closed for 2021

4. Attend Orientation

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 (access to the 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.

5. 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

  • 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.

6. 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

7. Certify 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.