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Welcome!

We've received your application to the Ramsey County Master Gardener (RCMG) Volunteer Program. Take a look through the information below regarding next steps and what to expect.

We are excited to meet you!

Volunteering in the Master Gardener Program is a great way to learn more about horticultural topics, serve your local community, and build long-lasting friendships. The first year can be intense with lots to learn, see, and do but remember: You have many people that will help you along the way to becoming a certified Master Gardener volunteer. Mentors, the Membership Committee, our Program Coordinators, your fellow interns and over 340 other Ramsey County Master Gardener volunteers all want you to be successful!

Master Garden Volunteer Program Mission

The mission of the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program is to use research-based horticultural knowledge and practices to deliver educational outreach and project-based efforts that inspire change and promote healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy planet.
Read more about Becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer.

Master Gardener Volunteer Position Description

Master Gardener volunteers provide public education with research-based information from University of Minnesota Extension or appropriate Cooperative Extension institutions, on best practices in consumer horticulture and environmental stewardship. Read more about the volunteer position description


First Year Expectations

New volunteers are expected to tackle a lot in their first year. Your annual requirements as a Master Gardner volunteer drop in the following years.

Background Check

The University of Minnesota requires University volunteers who work with youth to submit a background check. You must submit a background check before you can officially enroll in the Master Gardener Volunteer Program and again every three years.

Safety of Minors Training

The University of Minnesota requires University volunteers who work with youth to complete the Safety of Minors training. This helps volunteer understand their role and responsibilities as mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect as they work as a University volunteer. You must complete a Safety of Minors training before you can officially enroll in the Master Gardener Volunteer Program and again every three years.

Master Gardener Core Course (40-60 hours)

New volunteers are required to participate in the Core Course, also called the "Pro-Hort Course." The registration cost for the course is $340 or $389 with a printed companion guide. The information that you learn builds a horticulture baseline for all MN Master Gardener volunteers. This will help you answer questions from residents as you volunteer and teach you to the find accurate, research-based information in the future. This course runs for 14 weeks between January and April. We STRONGLY encourage all new RCMG volunteers to complete the Core Course before the end of May because the information is so useful. 

Volunteer Service Requirements (50 Hours)
New volunteers must complete 50 hours of volunteer service in their first year. The RCMG Program has developed guidelines for interns to ensures that you will be able to sample a wide variety of opportunities, deepen your skillset, and explore your interests in ways that you may not have done if you had focused on only one area.

Continuing Education Requirements (8 Hours)

As a new volunteer, you are required to participate in at least 8 hours of continuing education during your first year. You earn education hours by attending classes and activities, which are taught by Extension Educators, University staff, and local experts who are approved by the local county program coordinator.
 

Volunteer Perks
  • Free or reduced-cost educational workshops, guest lectures, webinars, online classes and tours

  • Access to the books and materials in RCMG Lending Library

  • Free MN Landscape Arboretum admission for volunteers

Next Steps
  • 10/01/2023 – Last date to register for the Master Gardener Volunteer Program

  • Week of 10/02/2023 – Welcome messages emailed to all applicants

  • 10/20/2023 - 11/05/2023 – Applicant Interviews with Master Gardener volunteers (Multiple Dates)

  • 11/12/2023 – Last date to to confirm intent to join the Master Gardener Volunteer Program 

  • 11/20/2023 – Last date to submit University of Minnesota background check & Safety of Minors online training (Links delivered by email  after confirmation is received)

  • 12/01/2023 – Last date to register for the Core Course through the MN Landscape Arboretum (Registration link delivered with background check results)

  • 12/15/2023 – Last date to cancel registration for Core Course

  • 12/30/2023 – Submit volunteer bio & photo

  • January 2024 – Start of the Core Course & New Volunteer Orientation with RCMG

Questions

If you have questions, contact the Ramsey County Master Gardener Volunteer Program Coordinator,
Darren Lochner.

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