Who Are the Master Gardeners?
Master Gardeners are volunteers who assist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in Fort Bend County in promoting research-based horticultural practices to help residents succeed in creating and maintaining their home landscapes. Classes begin with 35 hours of comprehensive training conducted by Texas A&M professors and Extension specialists and delivered over 10 weeks. That training is supplemented with Fort Bend County local classes to round out the training.
Volunteer opportunities are many and varied, including maintaining demonstration gardens, responding to gardening inquiries, making presentations to small community groups, teaching youth about the fundamentals of gardening, assisting in community gardens, and writing articles and social media posts to name a few. A member must re-certify each year by satisfying minimum volunteer service and continuing education requirements.
What exactly is that special training?
The 2021 classes will return to in-person classes on Thursday mornings beginning on September 2, 2021 and completing before Thanksgiving. Guest lecturers will make presentations to the class online.
The enrollment fee is $250 per individual or $420 for two people if the Texas Master Gardener Handbook is shared. An in-person orientation session for accepted applicants is scheduled for Thursday, August 19, 2021 from 10am to noon and all accepted applicants are strongly encouraged to attend.
The deadline for application is August 16, 2021. For additional information contact the Master Gardener Program Coordinator, Margo “Mac” McDowell, by phone 281-633-7033 or by email email@example.com.
Read the 2021 Master Gardener Application Packet for more information about the training and the application.
In exchange for their training, persons who become Master Gardeners contribute time as volunteers, working through their county’s Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office to provide horticultural-related information to their communities.
Master Gardeners are representatives of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. In all volunteer work related to the program, Master Gardeners follow the research-based recommendations of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. The title “Texas Master Gardener” can be used by volunteers only when engaged in Extension-sponsored activities.
Training will result in greater confidence in your own efforts in the garden, provide the opportunity to learn with professional instruction, the “Texas Master Gardener Handbook”, community service opportunities, gardener friendships, and continuing educational opportunities through The Fort Bend County Master Gardeners, Inc. (“FBMG”).
Is the Master Gardener Program for Me?
To help you decide if you should apply to be a Master Gardener, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I want to learn more about the culture and maintenance of many types of plants?
- Am I eager to participate in a practical and intensive training program?
- Do I look forward to sharing my knowledge with people in my community?
- Do I have enough time to attend training and to complete the volunteer service, described below?
If you answered yes to these questions, the Master Gardener program could be for you!
In exchange for training, participants (“associates”) are required to volunteer 50 hours of time to Fort Bend County Extension approved projects by a date certain to be determined, after which the title Texas Master Gardener is earned. The type of volunteer service performed by Master Gardener Associates varies according to community needs, abilities and interests of the Master Gardeners. Master Gardeners will answer telephone requests for information related to gardening, plant and maintain demonstration gardens, care for the greenhouse, participate in plant clinics, seminars, or garden club presentations, attend FBMG committee meetings and FBMG meetings. Master Gardeners may speak to local groups and conduct workshops. They may help establish community garden projects, work with 4-H youth, schools, libraries or assist agents with news or radio releases related to gardening. The Master Gardener Coordinator in the County Extension office decides how volunteer time can be best utilized.
This is a certification course. Once this initial certification is achieved, one becomes a Certified Texas Master Gardener. It is important to note that once Certified, not always certified, and a person could lose their status if they don’t complete all the requirements every year of 12 hours of Continuing Education and 24 hours of Volunteer time.
For additional information, you can contact the Master Gardener Program Coordinator by phone 281-633-7033 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.