FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MAMGA and the MASTER GARDENER VOLUNTEER PROGRAM


WHAT IS Master Gardener Volunteer Certification?

The master gardener program was created to provide trained volunteers who could provide science-based gardening information to the public, thus extending the work of horticultural extension agents.  Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) are those who have annually certified their status by completing at least 24 hours of volunteer work, 10 hours of continuing education, and complied with other program requirements.  An example is the state-mandated training on child abuse report requirements.  Hours are reported starting October 1 through September 30 of the following year.

Maintaining certification and the hours spent doing eligible volunteer hours are the ways that master gardeners "pay back" for their training provided by county horticultural extension agents. 

Master Gardener Volunteers have a variety of interests, spanning from vegetable gardening to native plant landscaping. The program is designed to give students a broad overview of information and resources to be able to volunteer in a variety of areas. Photo: J. Arlecchino, Creative Commons.

Master Gardener Volunteers have a variety of interests, spanning from vegetable gardening to native plant landscaping. The program is designed to give students a broad overview of information and resources to be able to volunteer in a variety of areas. Photo: J. Arlecchino, Creative Commons.


HOW DO I BECOME A MASTER GARDENER VOLUNTEER?

You can apply to become a Master Gardener Volunteer through Dane County Extension. Requirements for becoming a MGV are outlined below:

  • Attend a Master Gardener Volunteer interview session for acceptance into the program.
  • Sign the UWEX Master Volunteer Agreement and consent to the state background check
  • Attend the 16 session Master Gardener Volunteer course which runs from late Feb to the end of August. Classes are held approximately every other Wednesday morning.
  • Pass the open-book take-home exam with a score of 70% or better
  • Perform the 24 hours of volunteer service by the end of the six-month course. 12 hours of the 24 total are due by June 30 in order to finish taking the classes.
    • 8 hours of the 24 are to be done at the Dane County UWEX Teaching Garden (workdays as a group are on Saturdays or on your own on weekdays)
    • 4 hours of the 24 at an assigned school garden
    • 4 hours of the 24 at an assigned community garden
    • 3 hours of the 24 at an assigned local farmers market
    • 5 hours at a location of your choice from our approved locations handout.
  • Attend one Madison Area Master Gardeners (MAMGA) educational session, social event or garden tour during the course.
    *NOTE: The volunteer requirements listed above are for MGV students only. Master Gardeners looking to re-certify should refer to our MGV volunteer guidelines.

Generally, the MGV training course starts in February and continues through the end of August. Check the Dane County Extension website for specific information.

Master Gardeners learn about a range of topics, from compost to pest control to weeds and fruit trees! Photo: Karol Franks, Creative Commons.

Master Gardeners learn about a range of topics, from compost to pest control to weeds and fruit trees! Photo: Karol Franks, Creative Commons.


WHAT IS MAMGA? WHat is WIMGA?

The Madison Area Master Gardeners Association (MAMGA) is open to all who have successfully completed the UW Extension's master gardener training or equivalent training from other states. Members are strongly encouraged to maintain certification as Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) as well. 

WIMGA is the Wisconsin Master Gardeners Association, the statewide organization for certified MGVs.

Please see the bottom of our MEMBERSHIP PAGE to find out more about MAMGA and WIMGA!


HOW DO I REPORT MY MGV Hours?

Each year, Master gardener volunteers must perform 24 hours of volunteer service and 10 hours of continuing education (see below).

MGV Volunteer hours are due October 1 each year.

Beginning on October 1, start recording eligible activities to be reported no later than October 1 of the following year to maintain certification as a Master Gardener Volunteer. 

Use this form to record your hours.  Once you have filled in a page, send it in to:

 

Dane Co UWEX MGV Hours
5201 Fen Oak Ct
Madison WI 53718

OR email your form to ottem@countyofdane.com.


There are countless ways to earn your volunteer hours for Master Gardener certification.

There are countless ways to earn your volunteer hours for Master Gardener certification.

WHAT COUNTS AS VOLUNTEERING FOR MY MGV CERTIFICATION?

There are many ways to volunteer as an MGV. 

UW Extension has provided a list of organizations that qualify for MGV volunteer hours.

If you have questions about the eligibility of a volunteer opportunity, email Lisa Johnson at johnson.lisa@countyofdane.com


WHAT IS MGV Continuing Education?

Master Gardener Volunteers need 10 hours of education each year to maintain certification! Many MAMGA programs qualify for continuing ed credit. Another easy way to pick up hours is to listen to Larry Meiller's Garden Talk program on Fridays starting at 11 a.m. on Wisconsin Public Radio.

For a complete list of eligible continuing education opportunities, click here.


HELP! Where do I send my Master Gardener-related forms?

Here's a quick summary of where your master gardener-related materials go:

Send the following items to MAMGA:

 

Send to:
MAMGA
P.O. Box 259318
Madison, WI 53525-9318

Send the following items to Dane County UW Extension:                         

  • Master Gardener Volunteer Hours Reports (due October 1) - see "How do I report my MGV hours?" above         
 

Send to:
Dane Co/UW Extension Office
Attn:  MGV Program
5401 Fen Oak Ct
Madison WI 53719

Sending materials to the wrong location will delay processing. Thank you!