Extension master gardeners teach children and adults about composting at a Lincoln Earth Day event. Education -- both learning and teaching -- is the key component of the Extension Master Gardeners program.

Do you enjoy working in your garden and talking with friends about your newest plant acquisition? Do your friends ask you for advice on their lawns, vegetables and flowers? Would you like to learn more about the art and science of horticulture? Then you should consider becoming an Extension Master Gardener (EMG). You have all the qualifications!

Who are Extension Master Gardeners?

They are people who love plants and enjoy sharing their knowledge with others. At Nebraska Extension, we teach adults and youth in many different settings, from the county fair, to classrooms, and demonstration landscapes, and our EMG volunteers are essential to help us do that.

After training, EMGs assist Extension staff to provide clientele with information by answering phone and walk-in questions, teaching youth or adult programs, and working in teaching or demonstration landscapes. The EMG program’s goal is to provide Nebraskans with the knowledge they need to create and maintain beautiful, healthy, sustainable landscapes, while conserving water and protecting themselves and the natural environment from exposure to improperly applied or excessive amounts of pesticides and fertilizers.


EMG interns learn about a wide range of horticulture topics including soils, fertilizers, botany, plant selection, plant diseases, insects and weed control. Forty hours of classroom instruction gives them a good foundation in general horticulture, plus basic insect and disease control knowledge. After training, EMG interns give back 40 hours of volunteer service in their community through a variety of activities.

Why get involved in the Extension Master Gardener program? First, because you love gardening. Each EMG has their own special area of interest; a particular type of gardening or type of plant that they love to grow, whether it is roses, herbs, water plants, wildflowers, fruit trees or vegetables. Through the program, EMG interns meet many great people who share their love of gardening and are always happy to share their knowledge. And as a volunteer EMGs make a contribution to their community, while creating beautiful, sustainable green spaces.

How to get started

Complete and submit an application. Two Extension Master Gardener programs are available for residents of Lancaster county and surrounding areas.

Evening training classes -- 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Classes are held from early February through May, at Kiem Hall on UNL’s East Campus, 33rd and Holdrege. Complete an application on-line at http://MasterGardener.unl.edu, click on “Become a Master Gardener.” Or contact Teri James, email: tjames2@unl.edu, (402) 472-8973. Program cost is $190 per person. Application deadline, Jan. 11.

Weekday training classes -- 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Classes are held from mid-February through early April, at the Lancaster County Extension Office, 444 Cherrycreek Road. Complete an application on-line at http://go.unl.edu/mgapplication, or contact Mary Jane Frogge for more information. Email: mfrogge2@unl.edu, (402) 441-7180. Program cost is $190 per person. Application deadline, Jan. 18.

We would love to have you join us!

Sarah Browning is an extension educator with Nebraska Extension. To ask a question or reach her, call 402-441-7180 or write to her at sarah.browning@unl.edu or 444 Cherrycreek Road, Lincoln, NE 68528.


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