1.4 Become a Master Gardener

Sun, 07/29/2012 - 07:29 -- Victoria
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What is a Master Gardener and what does a Master Gardener do?

Master Gardeners combine a passion for gardening and the dedication to share their knowledge with the community.   As part of an international, non-profit organization, all Master Gardeners are volunteers and participate in many venues:

  • Gardening events, seminars, fairs, plant sales, nursery clinics
  • Workshops, demonstrations, community projects
  • Research and writing and fundraising events.  

In addition to volunteer hours, members attend regular meetings and commit to on-going education.

We encourage a multifaceted approach to gardening and emphasize the promotion of plant health, use of environmentally responsible solutions and the employment of Integrated Pest Management (BC Ministry of Environment).

What is Master Gardener Training?

In Victoria, BC, the basic Master Gardener Training is offered by the Horticultural College of the Pacific located in Saanich.  (Please call 250-479-6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca to find out more.) The program, originally developed by the Extension Service office of Oregon State University, covers basic aspects of:

  • Botany        
  • Plant needs
  • Insects

Classes are tailored to specific bioregions including aspects of climate, topography, soils, and growing conditions.  The flexibility to highlight local conditions is important in Canada where hardiness zones range from 0 to 8 (Agriculture Canada).   Courses are offered based on demand.

How long does the training take?

This 14 week course is offered at least once a year, generally in the Spring from January to April; however, additional classes are created during periods of high demand.

The basic training course:

  • Follows a written curriculum with lectures, graded assignments, group activities and plant identification
  • Students meet twice a week for an evening and weekend class of three hours duration totaling six hours per week. 

Qualification as a Master Gardener in Training (MGIT):

  • Attendance (80% of classes)
  • Assignments (complete a minimum of 80%)
  • Final open book exam (minimum grade of 80%)

How to become a Certified Master Gardener?

Volunteer hours are the cornerstone of certification.  In the first 18 months after completing the basic training course, MGITs complete a minimum of 60 hours of volunteer hours in the following categories:  

  • Clinic Hours: 25 (clinics average 2-3 hours each) with 10 hours in the first calendar year of MGIT graduation
  • Approved Projects and Activities: Unlimited
  • Administration (Committees and Working Groups): Unlimited
  • Plus Continuing Education: 5 hours/year

To make the process more fun, mentors are assigned to each MGIT.

To maintain certification Master Gardeners complete a minimum of 15 hours of volunteer hours in the following categories:  

  • Clinic Hours: 8
  • Approved Projects and Activities: Unlimited
  • Administration (Committees and Working Groups): Unlimited
  • Plus Continuing Education: 5 hours/year

 

Last update, Feb. 24, 2014

 

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