How Do I Become a Master Gardener?
The Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the educational mission of promoting good and sustainable gardening practices.
Our purpose is to provide the means by which graduates of the Master Gardener Program may:
- Share their knowledge and expertise and offer help and assistance to the public.
- Extend their knowledge of and interests in gardening and related topics through seminars, lectures, field trips, and other activities.
- Train future Master Gardeners.
Master Gardener programs exist throughout the nation and are typically associated with a state university. Our program originated at the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Massachusetts. In 1989, due to funding limitations, the program was discontinued at UMass. We have been operating independently since then, thanks to a very dedicated group of program graduates.
Our members have successfully completed an academic training program followed by intern service hours working with the public to advance our mission. After this training, we continue to participate in public education opportunities throughout Western Massachusetts. Our organization is divided into three sub-regions: Berkshire County, Upper Valley, and Lower Valley, which organize our activities and volunteer efforts there, for all of our participation.
If you would like to be a Master Gardener, we invite you to download our pdf application form. Once completed, please email to email@example.com. The deadline for applications is September 19, 2016. We will contact you for an interview with some of our Master Gardeners in your area. Acceptances will be mailed on November 15, 2016. To hold your place in the class, your check for $350 must be received by December 2, 2016. Those on our waiting list will be notified as space becomes available.
Computer experience is necessary, since class materials will be on the WMMGA website, along with weekly homework assignments and study aids. There is a final exam.
Training begins in January, consists of 32 classes (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) for 16 weeks. Classes are held on Tuesdays at the Holyoke Community College, Kittredge Center, with the exception of the January 3, 2017 orientation meeting which will be held at Wistariahurst, two days of classes to be held at the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and one field day pruningtrees.
Once the training and exam are completed, trainees are required to participate in 60 intern hours under four categories of activies assisting Master Gardeners at Public Education events, such as our WMMGA tables at summer farmers markets; spring events, such as the Springfield Earth Day celebration; and the Big E and Franklin County fairs in September; and our telephone and email hotlines working with a master gardener to answer questions from the public. Interns complete Community Service hours at our approved locations, such as Wistariahurst, the Hospice at Fisher Home, Northampton Community Garden, South Hadley Community Demonstration Garden, and Grandmothers’ Garden in Westfield. Attendance at all-member meetings (January and June) along with quarterly area meetings are counted under the category of Administration hours. Assistance at any of our three area spring symposiums is also accrued in the administration hour’s category. There is also a Continuing Education requirement.
Individuals who complete this training, exam, and service hours are then certified as Master Gardeners.