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Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program

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…

Watch our Master Gardener YouTube Playlist for a sample of what’s going on around the state:

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) and the CCE Master Gardener Program Mission, Vision and Values. 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.  Active Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers commit a minimum number of hours per year in support of county program community activities.

Why be a Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer? 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; 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.

Find more on the Benefits of Garden Based Learning and Research that Supports Our Work.


Resources for Master Gardener Volunteers: 

Horticulture Update Newsletters

November 15th Newsletter

December 1st Newsletter

December 16th Newsletter

January 17th Newsletter

February 3rd Newsletter

MGV Horticulture Update Image

The Garden-Based Learning Library:

When you become an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer, your training will include research-based resources and content from Cornell University in a curriculum that was recently updated in 2019.  The outline of that Core Preparation is outlined below:

  • Section 0.1 Adult Learning and Peer Learning Networks
  • Section 0.2 Community Engagement and Action Projects

Module 1: The Fundamentals

  • Section 1.1 Plant Biology for Gardeners
  • Section 1.2 Right Plant, Right Place
  • Section 1.3 Beneficial Insects
  • Section 1.4 Basic Plant Pathology

Module 2: Food Gardening

  • Section 2.1a Vegetable Gardening (Part 1 of 2)
  • Section 2.1b Vegetable Gardening (Part 2 of 2)
  • Section 2.2 Fruit Gardening
  • Section 2.3 Nutrition, Food Safety and Food Security (Post-Harvest)

Module 3: Ornamental Plants and Ecosystems Services

  • Section 3.1 Woody Plants
  • Section 3.2 Herbaceous Plants Folder
  • Section 3.3 Lawn Care and Ecosystems Services Folder

Module 4: Problem Solving

Section 4.1 Pest Management Strategies and IPM
Section 4.2a Pests of Food Crops and Ornamental Plants (Part 1 of 2)
Section 4.2b Pests in the Home and Garden (Part 2 of 2)
Module 5: Management Strategies
Image of a hand lens magnifying a gear

Module 5: Management Strategies

  • Section 5.1 Organic Waste Management (Composting)
  • Section 5.2 Soil Amendments and Fertilizers
  • Section 5.3 Invasive Species for Gardeners
  • Section 5.4 Gardening in a Warming World

Module 6: Starting and Sustaining Learning Gardens

  •  Section 6.1 Group Gardens and NYS Seed to Supper Network
  • Section 6.2 Youth Development and School Gardens

Module 7: Action Project Presentations & Orientation to Local Program Areas

  • Section 7.1 Action Project Presentations
  • Section 7.2 Orientation to Local Program Areas

Advanced Training Sessions

  • Cover Crops
  • Seed Saving
  • Unusual Fruits and Nuts for the Home Garden
  • Engaging Low-Literacy Audiences
  • Weeds
  • Pollinator Protection Part 1: Bee-Friendly Basics and Needs
  • Pollinator Protection Part 2: Habitat Protection

Questions?  Please email


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