Terri James | Extension Educator and Master Gardener Volunteer Program Coordinator
Nebraska Extension is offering Master Gardener training throughout the state in 2020. The Nebraska EMG program is a horticulture-related volunteer training program based in many counties and has been part of Nebraska Extension since 1976.
EMG volunteers are trained by Nebraska Extension faculty and staff in science-based horticulture-related topics. They then contribute time as volunteers, working through their local extension office, to provide horticulture information to their community. More specifically, they provide landscape system education using integrated pest management practices. They develop valuable partnerships within the community to act on local issues, leveraging the resources of Nebraska Extension and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Participants are required to complete 40 hours of training and 40 hours of volunteer service during the initial year of their involvement in the program. Initial training curriculum covers topics encompassing the whole landscape such as; plant science, botany, insects, weed, wildlife, and turfgrass management, soils and pesticide safety.
EMG volunteers retain their certification through annual training and volunteering. Volunteer tasks may involve answering phones at a county extension office, giving horticulture presentations to community organizations, assisting 4-H clubs with garden projects, judging horticulture exhibits at county and state fairs, participating in community garden projects, writing a garden column for the local paper and more.
EMG class times, location and cost vary across the state, but are generally offered February through May.
Volunteer applicants should be at least 19 years of age with a strong work ethic and an interest in learning more about horticulture and landscape systems. Volunteers need to be willing to commit to the training and volunteer process and meet all requirements for yearly recertification.
To learn more and download a volunteer application form, visit mastergardener.unl.edu.