Illinois Master Gardeners
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Master Gardeners are adults of all ages who love gardening and who have previous gardening experience.
You can become a Master Gardener if:
- you have some knowledge or experience in gardening or landscape management (you need not be an expert),
- you are willing to learn about horticulture and share this knowledge with others,
- you are accepted into a local training program and can volunteer time conducting horticultural educational programming coordinated through your local Extension unit.
University of Illinois Extension increasingly uses trained Master Gardener volunteers to meet the constant demand for horticultural consumer information by citizens of our state.
In 2006, nearly all Extension units in the state had Master Gardeners. There are currently more than 3,200 Master Gardener volunteers in Illinois.
The mission of the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener program is "Helping Others Learn to Grow." Master Gardeners involve people in improving the quality of life by helping them find sound management practices for home and urban natural resources, by creating aesthetically pleasing environments, by promoting well-being through people-plant interactions and horticultural therapy, and by contributing to a safe, abundant food supply through home fruit and vegetable production.
The objectives of the Master Gardener program are to:
- Expand the capacity of the University of Illinois Extension Service to distribute horticultural information to individuals and groups in local communities
- Develop and enhance community programs related to horticulture. These programs are educational in nature and may involve environmental improvements, horticultural therapy projects, community and school gardening projects, or other programs determined by local need.
- Develop the leadership potential of Master Gardener volunteers through a volunteer administrative network designed to assist Extension staff in managing local Master Gardener activities and programs.