What is the Master Gardener Volunteer Program?

The OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a premier, statewide network of volunteer education and leadership development; as well as a consumer horticulture education delivery system that maximizes human, material and natural resources, and values teamwork and excellence in educational programming. The Master Gardener Volunteers' knowledge, experience and enthusiasm have become essential to Extension education of consumer horticulture in the state of Ohio.

The Master Gardener Volunteer Program provides an extensive course in horticulture in exchange for a donation of volunteer hours to share your gardening knowledge with the community through OSU Extension sponsored activities.

Master Gardener Volunteer Training

Volunteers are an important component of the OSU Extension system. Volunteers are not required to have gardening skills or knowledge; but a passion for learning about gardening and sharing this knowledge with others is a must! There are many opportunities to obtain hours either with a “hands-in-the-dirt” group project or as a “behind-the-scenes” individual contributor supporting non-physical activities.

Master Gardener Volunteer training is offered for residents of Licking County and surrounding areas. The training program provides a balanced, integrated, practical course in plant science. Core topics that are part of the training are oriented to Extension and the Master Gardener Volunteer Program:

    Basic Botany
    Plant Physiology
    Soils and Soil Fertility
    Basic Entomology
    Basic Plant Pathology
    Plant Disease Diagnosis
    Pesticide Use and Safety
    Plant Identification
    Home Lawn Care
    Trees and Shrubs
    Home Vegetable Production
    Home Fruit Production
    Backyard Wildlife Management

New topics this year include Pollinators, Houseplants and Therapeutic Horticulture!

Special topics, based on local needs, may be part of the curriculum.


The next Master Gardener Volunteer Training will take place in Spring 2021. Interviews will begin in December 2020 and continue through January 2021.

COST: The training fee is $150 and is payable after interview and acceptance into the program. Scholarships are available by contacting Lori Swihart at swihart.33@osu.edu.

Volunteer Commitment

The Master Gardener Volunteer training course consists of a minimum of 50 hours of instruction. An equivalent number (50) of horticultural significant volunteer hours is required to become a certified Master Gardener. Master Gardeners may recertify by completing 20 additional hours of public service and 10 hours of advanced educational training yearly. Only unpaid public service in Ohio State University Extension sponsored activities count toward the requirement.

Please read:


If interested in becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer, please download and print the application below.

Master Gardener Volunteer Application

Mail the completed application to:

OSU Extension Licking County
Attn: Lori Swihart
771 E. Main Street, Suite 103
Newark, OH 43055

The completed application may also be emailed to swihart.33@osu.edu or faxed to (740) 670-5317.

Applications will be accepted October 1, 2020 through January 18, 2021.

For more information on becoming a Licking County Master Gardener Volunteer contact Lori Swihart at (740) 670-5322 or via email at swihart.33@osu.edu

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