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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℠.

Interest Meetings for Class of 2024:

Thursday, January 4, 6:30-7:30 p.m. and Friday, January 5, 10-11 a.m.

Location: 2420 Tramway Road, Sanford NC 27332

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.

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: 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 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.

Pollinator Day

Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteers support Pollinator Day education

Step 4: Go through the Training Course

The Training Course will kick-off on a Saturday (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) in April or May (TBD) 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 weekday or weekend) a month for six months. Each class will be approximately four hours of class time! 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: week day TBD (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), based on class availability; and Sundays (2-6 p.m.).

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

Lee Regional Fair

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

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.

Working in the Pollinator Haven Garden

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

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. 

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 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 25 (starting in 2024) 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.