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Become a Master Gardener

Do you to love to garden? Do you enjoy sharing your gardening knowledge with others? Then consider joining the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City (MGGKC), a volunteer organization dedicated to helping others learn to grow.

The University of Missouri Extension Office in Jackson County holds one training class each year. The training involves 16 weeks of intensive training, usually in the August to December timeframe. A normal class is between 30-40 individuals.

Applications to become a Master Gardener are available at the Jackson County Extension Office in Blue Springs, MO at (816) 252-5051 or may be printed online from the MGGKC website after the annual class is announced in the Spring. Applications should be completed and returned to the Jackson County Extension Office by mid-June for the class. A non-refundable $10.00 application fee, payable to University of Missouri Extension, must accompany the application. It is recommended that the applicant review the information on the Master Gardener website to learn more about the program and the available volunteer opportunities. All applicants must be a minimum of 16 years old.

Master Gardeners and an Extension horticulture staff person will meet with the applicants to hold information sessions in which potential applicants can ask questions, learn about requirements, and pay for training.  Guidelines for participation in the program include a broad interest in horticulture, a commitment to volunteering, and the time available to volunteer. Applicants do not need to live within the three county area. The applicant will be notified shortly thereafter if they are accepted into the Master Gardener program. All applicants, now called trainees, will be invited to a Master Gardener Get Together to meet their fellow trainees, meet their assigned Master Gardener mentor, and get acquainted with the MGGKC organization.

Classroom training will begin in mid-August. Classes will be held on Wednesday evenings from August thru December. This intensive training will be conducted by MU Extension specialists or local horticulture experts. It will cover a broad range of horticultural topics. Three take-home tests will be given and a research project presented in the form of a 10 minute presentation or a research-based report must be completed prior to graduation.

Attendance at all classes is essential. Absences will be handled on an individual basis. If more than three classes are missed, the trainee will not be able to graduate from the Master Gardener Program and will need to reapply the following year.

A fee of $175 must be paid after acceptance into the program and prior to the start of class. This fee will cover Master Gardener state registration, MU publication, Grounds for Gardening, handouts, name badge, and other supplies. A limited number of scholarships are available.

To become a certified Master Gardener, a minimum of 45 volunteer hours must be completed prior to the end of the next year.

If there are further questions about the Application/Training process, contact the Horticulture Specialist at the Jackson County Extension Office in Blue Springs at (816) 252-5051.

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University of Missouri Extension Master Gardener Program