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Becoming an Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer in Lee County

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Lee County Extension Master Gardener Logo

Learn more about what it means to be a Master Gardener℠.

Step 1: Attend Extension Classes and Lectures

Plan to attend at least five Extension classes or lectures between December 2022 and April 2023. 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!

Eligible Class List for January to April 2023

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.

Stay tuned to what is going on by checking out our Community Events Calendar and our Facebook page!

Pollinator Plants

Pollinator plants waiting to be planted at the Pollinator Haven Garden.

Step 2: Application

Submit an application by Friday, April 7, 2023 at 5 p.m. to 2420 Tramway Road, Sanford, NC 27330, or scan and email to Amanda Wilkins at Make sure to read and sign all forms in the packet.

Application for 2023 Lee County Extension Master Gardener Class

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.

For those of you who attended the Interest Meetings in October 2022, you will be exempt from the interview, if you so choose.

Pollinator Day

Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteers support Pollinator Day education

Step 4: Training Course

The Training Course kicks-off on Saturday, April 29, 2023 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and all EMGV trainees are required to attend on this day for orientation and fellowship. We are excited about our guest speaker (TBA)!!! This is the day you will also pay your EMG fees. 

Fee: $150, includes Extension Gardener Handbook access through Top Hat (learn more here), EMG name badge, program materials costs, and state fee. Please contact Amanda if you have any questions or concerns about the fee.

After this initial kick-off, EMGV trainees will attend one class a month from May to October. 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: 

– Tuesdays (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)- May 16, June 20, July 18, August 15, September 19
– Saturdays (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)- May 13, June 10, July 8, August 12, September 23
– Last Training Day for EMG Student Presentations- Saturday, October 14

You will be required to attend at least one field trip during the May to October window.

We encourage you to also begin attending the monthly Extension Master Gardener℠ meetings on the third Wednesday of every month!

Location: Classes are held at the McSwain Center at 2420 Tramway Road, Sanford, NC 27330. Off-site field trips will be scheduled and announced in advance.

Lee Regional Fair

Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteers in Lee County have fun working with Fair Judges at the Lee County Regional Fair.

Step 5: 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 September 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 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 September meeting and give the presentation at the final meeting in October.

Working in the Pollinator Haven Garden

Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer Tracie Bower digs in the Pollinator Haven Garden.

Step 6: 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. 

Learn more about volunteer opportunities in Lee County. 

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 would not be until 2024 (March to October). 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!)

Learn more about volunteer opportunities in Lee County. 

State Master Gardener℠ Volunteer Program Guidelines 

EMGV Table at Farmers Market

Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteers regularly participate in Plant Clinic to provide garden information to the public.