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Master Gardener Volunteer

Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Manual

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Not from New York State? National Extension Master Gardener 

Interested in learning more about becoming a master gardener in NY? Contact your local county office.  Not every CCE county office in New York has the resources to support a program.

Looking to advance your gardening knowledge without a volunteer commitment? Explore opportunities with…


The Extension Master Gardener program in New York State prepares individuals for volunteer roles in garden-based learning activities that support the educational mission of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE). All CCE Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) program opportunities are managed by the county CCE office who locally recruit volunteers as needed through an application process that happens at varying intervals depending on resources and needs. Initial volunteer preparation includes knowledge and skill development in gardening and community outreach. Active Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer commit a minimum number of hours (typically 20 to 50 hours per year) in support of county program community activities.

Why be a Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer? Gardening is enjoying an expansion of interest. The documented benefits of gardening are numerous and include: lifelong learning, environmental/scientific literacy, a sense of accomplishment, physical exercise, improved health, stress relief, physical rehabilitation, psychological rehabilitation, economic success, enhanced social relationships, community building and direct access to nutritious fresh food. Garden-based learning can serve as a catalyst for addressing food security and hunger; climate change; sustainable energy; childhood obesity and nutrition; food safety; and youth, family and community development. The widespread appeal of gardening provides opportunity to use gardens to connect with diverse audiences. These and the other benefits of gardening are maximized when gardening success is achieved. Cornell Cooperative Extension is part of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Cooperative Extension System, consequently CCE Master Gardener Volunteers are uniquely linked to Cornell University and positioned to provide best practices grounded in research-based knowledge. These practices foster the skills, knowledge and attitudes essential for creating successful gardening experiences among the 7 million New York State households engaging in garden-related activities as well as school and community organizations using gardening as a tool to achieve desired outcomes. Find more on the Benefits of Garden Based Learning and Research that Supports Our Work.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Manual

The following chapters were create for core preparation of Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer

Lawn Care: The Easiest Steps to an Attractive Environmental Asset (web content)

Cornell Guide to Growing Fruit at Home  (entire publication) Below are individual sections.Cover of Cornell Guide to Growing Fruit

Pest Management around the Home: Cultural Methods (pdf entire publication) Below are individual sections.

Cornell Pesticide Guidelines For Managing Pests around the Home (print resources for purchase)


Landscapes for Life  includes a complete kit of teaching resources which can be used to conduct classes in sustainable home gardening. Materials available on this site include a illustrated teacher’s manual, student manual, recorded webinars and slide presentations that illustrate the curriculum.

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