- I have a gardening question. Can you answer it?
Please contact your county’s Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office. This website is meant to be a central information source for Texas Master Gardeners and for those interesting in becoming Texas Master Gardeners. [To locate your county’s Extension office visit agrilifeextension.tamu.edu and click on the “Locations” tab.]
- I completed Master Gardener training in another county or state. Can I transfer my membership?
Please contact your county’s Master Gardener Coordinator. NOTE: The title of Texas Master Gardener is valid only when the volunteer is participating in a Master Gardener program being conducted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. The County Extension Agents, serving as Master Gardener Coordinators, are charged to maintain this guideline.
- Does my county have a Master Gardener Association?
A listing of all Texas Master Gardener associations by county.
- Does my county have a Master Gardener Association newsletter?
A listing of all Texas Master Gardener associations newsletters by county.
- Where can I obtain an application for a Master Gardener class?
Please contact your county’s Master Gardener Coordinator.
- What are the responsibilities of the Texas Master Gardener Program?
The Master Gardener program is administered by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, which responsibilities include:
- recruiting and selecting participants in the Master Gardener Program
- coordinating, conducting and funding training for Master Gardener volunteers
- certifying and recertifying Master Gardeners using State Master Gardener Guidelines
- identifying, developing and determining volunteer activities and projects for Master Gardeners which support Extension’s educational mission
- approving, recording and reporting volunteer service of the Master Gardeners
- recognizing Master Gardeners for volunteer service and leadership
- facilitating communications between Extension personnel and Master Gardeners
These responsibilities are often shared with individual Master Gardeners and/or the leadership of a Master Gardener Association; however, the ultimate accountability for these actions lie with the local County Extension Agent or staff member who serves as Master Gardener Coordinator.
- Are Master Gardener Volunteers/Applicants required to have criminal background checks?
Yes. County Master Gardener programs will conduct background checks on all Master Gardener volunteers, interns, and trainees. Prior criminal background checks are acceptable by YPS with documented verification from any one of the following sources: school districts, churches, recognized youth groups or associations, law enforcement, Texas Youth Commission, Department of Defense–Child and Youth Services and/or Family Program, concealed handgun license; and/or licensed day care workers. Background checks/screening should be conducted every three years for each Master Gardener. The cost of the background check/screening is on an individual case basis, and will be borne by the individual volunteer if appropriate. NOTE: County Master Gardener programs may, as with other state guidelines, increase program requirements and guidelines.
- Status of a volunteer within the Texas Master Gardener Program?
Volunteers are unpaid employees of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
- Hired (accepted into the program)
- Trained (horticultural as well as orientation)
- Welcomed (given a place to work and explained office procedures)
- Job (given a job description and set out to do the job)
- Paid (the job is the payment)
- What are the requirements to be a Master Gardener?
The title, Texas Master Gardener, is to be used only by individuals trained in the Texas Master Gardener program to assist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. A trainee must receive a minimum of 50 hours of instruction, pass an examination administered by Extension and volunteer a minimum of 50 hours of service to earn the title of “Texas Master Gardener.” Once a trainee completes the instruction and examination phase, the individual gains the title of “Master Gardener Intern.” From that point, the Intern has a maximum of one year to complete a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer service. Master Gardener trainees, Interns and Master Gardeners are encouraged to participate in local Master Gardener associations/groups and to attend State/Regional Master Gardener Conferences.
It is important to note that the State training and volunteer requirements are minimums. County Extension Agents have the authority to increase these requirements. Documentation requirements and validation of training and volunteer service hours are under the purview of the County Extension Agent or individual designated by the agent. Modifying Master Gardener Association by-laws regarding certification (or recertification) does not supercede State or County Master Gardener Program Guidelines.
- Requirements after becoming a Texas Master Gardener?
In order to retain the Texas Master Gardener title, individuals are required each year to participate in a minimum of 6 hours of recertification training and provide an additional 12 hours of volunteer service through the local Extension office. Again documentation requirements and validation of training and volunteer service hours for recertification are under the purview of the County Extension Agent or individual designated by the agent.
Volunteer service hours should be performed during activities that are:
- Educational in nature, as opposed to service or maintenance-type work.
- Supportive of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s mission, objectives, and issues.
- Identified as sponsored (or co-sponsored) by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
- Approved in advance for volunteer hours by the County Extension Agent/Master Gardener Coordinator.
The title of Texas Master Gardener is valid only when the volunteer is participating in a Master Gardener program being conducted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. When an individual ceases active participation in the Master Gardener program and/or does not meet recertification requirements, the individual’s certification as a Texas Master Gardener becomes void. The County Extension Agents, serving as Master Gardener Coordinators, are charged to maintain this guideline. NOTE: County Extension Agents/Master Gardener Coordinators employed by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service make the final determination on what volunteer service hours are accepted to meet requirements for Master Gardener certification and recertification.
- Is there a status within the Texas Master Gardener Program, if the annual requirements can not be met?
On occasion, a Master Gardener Intern or Texas Master Gardener is unable to fulfill the requirements to obtain or maintain certification due to illness, illness in the family, or other personal situation. In cases such as these, a “Leave of Absence” can be granted by the County Master Gardener Coordinator. This decision is generally made with input from the individual and local Master Gardener leadership. The Leave of Absence would be for a specified time period and may have specific training and/or service requirements for the individual to regain full status as a Master Gardener Intern or Texas Master Gardener.
- Can A Master Gardener Volunteer be reassigned or dismissed?
A volunteer may be reassigned or dismissed at the sole discretion of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. NOTE: The volunteer and/or Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, has to the right to end the volunteer relationship at any time, for any reason, and without advance notice.