Master Gardener Volunteer Training

Master Gardener Volunteers (MGV) are trained to support Virginia Cooperative Extension offices by educating the public in many aspects of the home garden. Volunteer service is performed within the Rockbridge area. In the first year after graduation, a trainee becomes an intern and volunteers, for a total of 50 hours, in approved Master Gardener Volunteer activities.

The training empathizes problem solving and research skills. It runs from January to June and is comprised of the following:

  • Reading from the Master Gardener Handbook, following the course of study syllabus. The Handbook is included in the registration fee.

  • Studying the on-line modules which supplement the Handbook readings. Each module is illustrated and contains links for further reference. If broadband access is limited, a flash drive will be provided upon request.

  • Completing open book, on-line, self-grading quizzes.

  • Attending, as a class group, 10 labs held in the Rockbridge area. The labs are scheduled on Saturdays, late afternoons, or evenings. These are interactive and allow for problem solving with fellow trainees.

  • Participating in three additional activities:

  1. Orientation with a welcome potluck dinner.

  2. Training session on the computerized Volunteer Management System.

  3. Project Fair, where trainees learn about the volunteer opportunities in our area.

For a sample training schedule, click here.


After the Project Fair, trainees may begin volunteering, under the supervision of Master Gardener Volunteers, and earning the 50 volunteer hours required to become a certified Master Gardener Volunteer.

Upon graduation, the trainee becomes a Master Gardener Volunteer Intern.  With completion of the 50 volunteer hours, to be accomplished within one year after graduation, the Intern becomes a full Master Gardener Volunteer.  Thereafter, the Master Gardener Volunteer is asked to volunteer a minimum of 20 hours per year on approved Master Gardener Volunteer projects, along with a minimum of 8 hours of continuing education.  The 8 continuing education hours can be completed through Rockbridge Area Master Gardener programs and surrounding area plant symposiums.

The Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a commitment. It is an opportunity to give back to the community, while having a lot of fun and comradeship. It is a combination of community sharing, continuing education, social interaction and personal satisfaction.

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Master Gardener Volunteer Class - 2019

Video: Master Gardener Training