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Master Gardener Volunteers attend a hands-on composting workshop
Image by Erica LaFountain
Master Gardener Volunteer, Nancy Alessi tends her spring perennial garden
Image by Erica LaFountain

Master Gardener Volunteer Program

The Master Gardener Program is a national program of trained volunteers who work in partnership with their county Cooperative Extension offices to extend gardening information to the local community.

What do Master Gardeners do in New York State?

Cornell Cooperative Extension prepares MGVs to be peer educators who utilize local experience and research-based knowledge to empower community members to manage gardens, lawns, and landscapes with an emphasis on food security and environmental stewardship.

Over 1,500 MGVs in New York State contribute educational services to meet the outreach mission of Cornell, influencing many thousands of consumers on horticultural issues.

Projects and functions carried out by MGVs are based on the educational priorities of individual counties. Some of the ways in which MGVs have been involved in St. Lawrence County are:

  • Answering horticultural inquiries by phone and email
  • Writing articles about gardening
  • Restoring Historic Gardens
  • Teaching classes to community members of all ages
  • Setting up demonstration projects in public places
  • Tabling at local events, including farmers' markets
  • Beautifying community landscapes

Who becomes a Master Gardener?

Master Gardeners enjoy people and plants. They usually have no professional gardening or landscaping experience, but should have a basic knowledge of, or interest in, gardening; enthusiasm for acquiring and sharing horticultural knowledge and skills; good communications skills; and a willingness and free time to participate in volunteer educational activities.

How does one become an MGV?

Master Gardener training is held every two to three years. Trainees receive training on a broad spectrum of subjects applicable to home gardening, such as plant nutrition, soils, vegetable and fruit culture, trees, shrubs and lawns, diseases and insects that affect plants, pruning, and much more. The training is designed to give a basic understanding of horticulture topics as well as knowledge of where to find reliable horticultural information. Advanced instruction is offered, and special seminars and refresher workshops are held so that Master Gardeners can stay current on gardening topics and keep their knowledge up-to-date.

Interested in becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer in St. Lawrence County? Contact us!


Erica LaFountain
Community Horticulture Educator
315-379-9192 ext 240

Last updated March 15, 2023