Becoming an Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer in Lee County
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***APPLICATIONS ARE CLOSED FOR EARLY CLASS OF 2023. Please contact Amanda Wilkins if you want to sign up to receive updates about the next class!***
Step 1: Beef up on your Education: Attend Extension Classes and Lectures
Plan to attend at least five Extension classes or lectures between a given time to qualify for next class period. These classes and lectures will count towards your education hours and will start building your knowledge base, as well as building community with other attendees of Extension programming!
Reporting Attendance: For Lee County Programs- Indicate on the sign-in form that you are attending the program for EMG credit. For Programs External to Lee County Cooperative Extension: Email Amanda to indicate your attendance.
Step 2: Fill out an Application!
Submit an application by the deadline (next one TBD) to 2420 Tramway Road, Sanford, NC 27330, or scan and email to Amanda Wilkins at email@example.com. Make sure to read and sign all forms in the packet.
Step 3: Interview/Application Review
Applications will be reviewed by the Horticulture Agent, Extension Staff, and current EMG volunteers in Lee County, and evaluated based on your answers to the questions on pages three and four. We will schedule a time to talk on the phone, Zoom, or for you to come in in person to talk.
Step 4: Go through the Training Course
The Training Course will kick-off on a Saturday (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and all EMGV trainees are required to attend on this day for orientation and fellowship. This is the day you will also pay your EMG fees.
Fee: $150, includes Extension Gardener Handbook, EMG name badge, program materials costs, and state fee. Please contact Amanda if you have any questions or concerns about the fee. Scholarships are available.
After this initial kick-off, EMGV trainees will attend one class a month for six months. Each class will be approximately four hours of class time, with a lunch break! There will be lectures, hands-on activities, and projects, as well as fun homework assignments and opportunities to get involved in research and outreach with the Cooperative Extension Service.
There are two options each month so you can choose what is most convenient for you: Wednesdays and Saturdays.
You will be required to attend at least one field trip during the training window.
Step 5: Take the Final Exam
There will be a final exam given in the form of a take-home test and presentation.
The take-home test will be given out at the second to last class and is open book/notes/Internet! The purpose of the test is not about memorization, but applying your knowledge!
The presentation will be a five-minute (at least!) powerpoint or oral presentation about your chosen topic (e.g. your favorite plant, something you really enjoyed learning about, your semester project, etc.). You will let Amanda know about your topic at the second to last meeting and give the presentation at the final meeting.
Step 6: Complete the Internship Period
You must complete a 40-hour volunteer internship period within a year of completing the training program. You will be grouped with other students and paired with a current EMG to help you along your Extension Master Gardener℠ journey. You will meet with them as needed.
You can earn up to 10 hours of volunteer time between May and October that will count towards your internship hours.
You will be required to volunteer at least five hours to support Helpline operations during your internship time. This could include: coming into the office during office hour times to answer phone calls and do research; work off-site answering emails that come into the Lee EMG email; support Extension staff in office duties and refreshing reference library; and changing out bulletin boards in the Pollinator Haven Garden and the Extension Office.
Step 7: Serve and Maintain your Certification
To maintain your Master Gardener℠ Volunteer certification after your Internship period, you must:
- Complete at least 20 hours of volunteer work with N.C. Cooperative Extension, Lee County Center every calendar year
- Participate in 10 hours of continuing education through Extension-approved classes (there are SO many cool opportunities that pop up throughout the year!)