How to Become A Master Gardener Volunteer


The OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a premier, statewide network of volunteer education and leadership development; as well as a consumer horticulture education delivery system that maximizes human, material and natural resources, and values teamwork and excellence in educational programming. The Master Gardener Volunteers’ knowledge, experience and enthusiasm have become essential to Extension education of consumer horticulture in the state of Ohio.

The Master Gardener Volunteer Program provides an extensive course in horticulture in exchange for a donation of volunteer hours to share your gardening knowledge with the community through OSU Extension sponsored activities.

Master Gardener Volunteer Training

Volunteers are an important component of the OSU Extension system. Volunteers are not required to have gardening skills or knowledge; but a passion for learning about gardening and sharing this knowledge with others is a must! There are many opportunities to obtain hours either with a “hands-in-the-dirt” group project or as a “behind-the-scenes” individual contributor supporting non-physical activities.

Master Gardener Volunteer training is offered for residents of Licking County and surrounding areas. The training program provides a balanced, integrated, practical course in plant science. Core topics that are part of the training are oriented to Extension and the Master Gardener Volunteer Program:

    Basic Botany
Plant Physiology
Soils and Soil Fertility
Basic Entomology
Basic Plant Pathology
Plant Disease Diagnosis
Pesticide Use and Safety
Plant Identification
Home Lawn Care
Trees and Shrubs
Home Vegetable Production
Home Fruit Production
Backyard Wildlife Management
Herbs and more!

How do I know if I’d make a good Master Gardener Volunteer?

  • You want to learn more about plants and gardening.
  • You are eager to participate in a practical and intensive training program.
  • You enjoy sharing your knowledge with others.
  • You have the time to attend training and serve your community as a volunteer educator.


The next Master Gardener Volunteer Training will take place virtually, beginning on February 9, 2021 and run on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 9 weeks. There will be an Orientation Night on February 4, 2021 at 6:00 pm at the Extension Office. More details to follow in interview.

Interviews will begin in December 2020 and continue through January 2021.

COST: The training fee is $150 and is payable after interview and acceptance into the program. Scholarships are available by contacting Lori Swihart at There are additional fees (approximately $30) for a mandatory criminal background check.

Volunteer Commitment

The Master Gardener Volunteer training course consists of:

1. A minimum of 50 hours of instruction which includes hands-on lab work.

2. An equivalent number (50) of horticultural significant volunteer hours is required with in a year to become a Certified Master Gardener Volunteer.

Master Gardeners remain active from year to year by:

  1. Obtaining ten (10) continuing education hours
  2. Donating a minimum of twenty (20) community service hours.

. Only pre-approved Ohio State University Extension sponsored activities count toward the requirement.

Understanding more about the program:

If interested in becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer, please download and print the application below.

Master Gardener Volunteer Application

Mail the completed application to:

OSU Extension Licking County
Attn: Lori Swihart
771 E. Main Street, Suite 103
Newark, OH 43055

Or, email to or fax to (740) 670-5317.

Applications will be accepted October 1, 2020 through January 15, 2021.

If you do not have internet access, call the office at 740-670-5315 and the application packet will be mailed.

For more information on becoming a Licking County Master Gardener Volunteer contact Lori Swihart at (740) 670-5322 or via email at

State Master Gardener Volunteer website

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Master Gardener Volunteers of Licking County OSUE

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