Master Gardener Volunteers

What is the Master Gardener Program?

The Master Gardener program is an all-volunteer organization sanctioned by Land Grant institutions in each state and functions as an extension of the college or university. In Wisconsin, the program is sponsored by Division of Extension, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who aid Extension staff by helping people in the community better understand horticulture and their environment.

How to get started to become a Master Gardener:  There are 4 steps.  See this link!

Oneida County Master Gardener Horticulture Education:  Interested in becoming an Oneida County Master Gardener?  Oneida County Residents can enroll in Growing and Caring for Plants in Wisconsin:  Foundations in Gardening, which is Extension’s statewide virtual gardening program.  Please see this link for more information: 

For Existing Master Gardeners, who intend to volunteer as Master Gardeners in 2023 and in the future, volunteers will need to complete the Master Gardener Program Onboarding Course.  Once the onbording course is completed Master Gardeners can log their volunteer hours in the ORS (On-lin Reporting System).  Volunteer hours cannot be logged until the Onboarding Course is completed!  If you have not taken the class yet, you will need to obtain a Net ID.  Here is a link on how to take the class under “Help I need some Technical Assistance”:  

To obtain or reset and get help with your NetID username or password:

Contact the Learn@UW Help Desk by phone at 608-264-HELP (4357).  It it staffed seven days a week from 6:00 a.m. to to 1:00 a.m.  You will need access to your email address you used to sign up for the Onbording Course in order to verify your identity. Identify yourself as a L3 learner with Extension.  Or Contact the helpdesk  via email at

Volunteers in the Master Gardener Program are required to “enroll” in the program each year.  This includes activating your account in the Online Reporting System (ORS) and agreeing to the conditions of volunteer service and the volunteer behavior agreement.  If you have not done so already please begin this process soon.

Current Master Gardeners in Oneida County must log their 2022 Volunteer Hours now!  The deadline is December 32, 2022.  Log onto ORS with your user name and password.  Forgot how to do that?  Here is a link:The enrollment process begins January 1 and ends March 31, 2021.  It must be completed in ORS.

Master Gardeners of the North

The Master Gardeners of the North is the Oneida County Association which meets the third Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m.  The meetings have presentations on a varieity of gardening topics and are open to members as well as the general public.  We currently have blended meeting in person and virtually via Zoom.  Membership is $20.00 per year.  For more information, contact President, Jan Faulkner at 630-254-8125 or email or alternate contact is Laurie McGill call at 715-490-1384 or email at

Lakeland Gardeners

Lakeland Gardeners is an association formed for the purpose of promoting garden education, giving to our communities through garden related activities and enjoying fellowship with other gardeners. Our community activities include educational presentations, maintenance of the Seasons of Life hospice garden and sponsorship of the annual Hospice Garden Walk, the proceeds of which support the operation of the hospice garden. No annual garden conference will be held. The club meets the last Wednesday of the month. Location varies and is posted in the Lakeland Times. General membership for Lakeland Gardeners is $10 per year and $15 per year for Master Gardeners.


To become a certified Master Gardener Volunteer, you must register for the designated training sessions and once that is completed a set amount of volunteer time to your community is required for certification. To remain certified, each year you will need to complete 24 hours of volunteer service and 10 hours of continuing education.

What Programs Are Offered?

Level 2 training for current Master Gardeners

Who Can Participate?

Any adult (18 years or older) can participate in the Master Gardener Volunteer Program – no previous experience or training is necessary, although many people have some experience.

What You Can Do as a Master Gardener Volunteer?

In exchange for the training, you are asked to volunteer hours equivalent to the number of training hours received for that year. The following programs offer a sample of the opportunities open to Master Gardener Volunteers:

  • Extension demonstration and community gardens
  • County and community fairs
  • Botanical gardens
  • Horticultural workshops and talks
  • Horticultural therapy projects
  • Farmers’ markets
  • Answering telephone inquiries for horticultural information
  • Write newspaper gardening columns
  • Adopt-A-Classroom
  • Volunteer at your county Extension office
  • Local parks or beautification committees
  • Youth groups such as 4-H, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts.

Many Master Gardener Volunteers donate their time beyond the required minimum numbers of hours. They volunteer hundereds of hours of horticulture-related community service annually.


Cooperative Extension has been helping people solve their agricultural problems since 1913. Extension agents/farm advisors supervised “Victory gardens” during World War I and II and have helped home and community gardeners ever since. Eventually, a voluntary educational program was initiated to teach gardening to people who would then extend the information to others in the community. The first Master Gardener Volunteer Program was started in 1972 in Washington State. Since then, Master Gardener Volunteer Programs have spread to over 45 states and four Canadian provinces, and boasts of more than 45,000 volunteers.


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