If you enjoy gardening, wish to become a better gardener, want to share your knowledge with others, and have time to volunteer – you should consider becoming a Piedmont Master Gardener!

Training Program

The Albemarle-Charlottesville unit of Virginia Cooperative Extension trains a new group of Master Gardeners every year starting in mid-February and ending in early May. Applications for the 2021 class are being accepted anytime from now until December 1st, 2020. The training course dates for 2021 are every Monday 9 am – 4 pm, from February 15th to May 3rd.

The training course includes 70 hours of classroom instruction taught by experts in various gardening areas such as soil, botany, integrated pest management, disease diagnosis, and more. Classes for 2021 will be held in-person on Mondays from 9 am to 4 pm in Room A of the Albemarle County Office Building on 5th Street Extended, and at various field sites within the county. While going through the course, each trainee has a Master Gardener as a mentor.

Requirements

Trainees are expected to complete an exam at the end of the course, and afterwards, as new Interns, complete 50 hours of volunteer project service within one year. Once completed, interns then become a certified Extension Master Gardener. Afterwards, you are then expected to give at least 20 hours of volunteer project service plus complete 8 hours of approved continuing education each year to remain an active Extension Master Gardener. Extension Master Gardeners must educate the public using science-based recommendations of VCE and may not use the Master Gardener designation to promote commercial horticulture services.

Applying

2021 application packets may be downloaded here or picked up in person at the VCE office off of Stagecoach Road. Multiple information meetings are held during the fall for prospective applicants and application packets will be made available. VCE also requires a background check once an application is submitted. Upon acceptance, a fee of $190 is charged to defray the cost of the course with need-based scholarships available. Feel free to send all questions to the Master Gardener Coordinator Scott Boven by email (sboven@vt.edu) or by phone (434-872-4581).