Become an Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer – Mecklenburg County

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NC State Extension Master Gardener Mecklenburg County

Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program       

2024 Application Process

Welcome and thank you for your interest in the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program. The following information reviews the application process as well as a brief overview of the program. Access to the application will be provided after you attend one of the four information sessions.

General Program Information

Our mission is to educate and assist the community by utilizing research-based information to support horticulture and gardening best practices. To become a certified Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer (EMGV), you must first attend an intensive training program studying scientific, research-based consumer horticulture.

As an educational volunteer of NC State Extension, certified individuals assist in providing public education in gardening and environmental stewardship based on researched-based information from N.C. Cooperative Extension and other universities. EMGVs play a large role in the horticultural program of Mecklenburg County by addressing critical issues such as enhancing natural resources and environmental stewardship, sustaining vibrant communities, and improving the health and wellness of our residents.

Training Course Specifics

The training course is offered at least once a year, in both the Spring and Fall semesters.

The tentative schedule and registration fee for Spring Semester 2024 is:

Date and Time:  Every Tuesday, January through May, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 

Location:  N.C. Cooperative Extension – Mecklenburg County Center

2415 Lester Street, Charlotte, NC  28208

Registration Fee:  $180

Topics Covered

Classes are taught by NC State University and NC A&T State University faculty and specialists, as well as other industry professionals in the Charlotte metro area. Classroom work is supplemented with field trips during the semester.

Soils and Plant Nutrients Native and Invasive Plants
Botany and Plant Physiology Vegetable Gardening
Plant Identification and Propagation Herbaceous and Woody Ornamentals
Diseases and Disorders Lawns
Diagnostics Organic Gardening
Beneficial and Pest Insects Composting
Attracting and Deterring Wildlife Pesticides and Garden Tools and Safety
Integrated Pest Management Landscape Design

Certification Expectations

To earn EMGV certification, students must:

  1. Complete an in-person, 80-hour training course with less than 3 absences, and,
  2. Complete 40 volunteer service hours within the first year

After the first year, certification is retained by:

  • Providing 30 hours of volunteer service hours
  • Participating in 10 hours of continuing education
  • Successful completion/passing of a yearly background check
  • Signature and adherence to the NC State EMG Code of Conduct

Volunteer Requirements

As a member of the program, EMGVs are required to contribute time as volunteers working through the N.C. Cooperative Extension Center in Mecklenburg County. The training prepares volunteers to assist in delivering research-based, educational programs within our community through projects such as:

  • Conducting garden and environmental education presentations at libraries, recreation centers, community centers, and schools
  • Identifying insect, pest, and plant disease problems in-person and by telephone
  • Providing educational materials for consumer horticulture programs including handouts and newsletter articles 
  • Supporting the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Community Gardens by demonstrating gardening techniques and offering research-based educational guidance

As EMGVs, we share common interests and experiences learning good horticulture practices and gardening techniques. We develop relationships with each other, often becoming friends. This can be a very rewarding organization.

Please realize that the program is not:

  • a garden club or social organization
  • a certification program to be utilized in a job or for-profit venture (including landscape and lawn maintenance businesses, nurseries or garden centers, and landscape consultation services)
  • a generalized class to help you gain more information about gardening, lawn care, or landscape maintenance

Requirements for Acceptance into the Program

To be accepted into the program, you must have a desire to learn and share various aspects of horticulture. You do not need to be an expert in gardening, a naturalist, or have a background in science. Our EMGVs are from diverse backgrounds, which are all relevant to our activities. The key traits needed for candidates are: 

  • Ability to attend classes and meetings and to assist with the Horticulture Help Desk of N.C. Cooperative Extension in Mecklenburg County during weekdays
  • Willingness to learn how to find research-based answers to common gardening questions and to promote only research-based information in EMGV projects
  • Interest in educating and serving the public through N.C. Cooperative Extension
  • Ability to present programs or classes to the general public
  • Proficiency in using basic computer programs and the Internet; experience creating PowerPoint presentations and other educational materials is beneficial

Information Sessions

As a prerequisite to receiving the application, you are required to attend one of the four Information Sessions. The objective of the Information Session is to give you a complete overview of the training program to ensure you are a good fit for the program.

Information Sessions will be held on the following dates:

Tuesday, August 1 at 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Tuesday, August 8 at 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Tuesday, August 15 at 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Tuesday, August 15 at 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Location:   N.C. Cooperative Extension – Mecklenburg County Center

       2415 Lester Street, Charlotte, NC  28208

While you are strongly encouraged to attend an Information Session in-person, you may also participate by Zoom, which will be conducted at the same time as the in-person sessions.

Register for your selected session


Application and Selection Process

After you attend an Information Session, you will receive further information about submitting your online application.

Applications for Spring Semester are due:  Thursday, August 31


A subsequent interview will be scheduled with a Horticulture Agent from the N.C. Cooperative Extension office in Mecklenburg County and at least one certified EMGV. These interviews will be conducted during September 2023 and early October 2023.Arrow

If you are selected to proceed after your interview, you will be required to pay the $180 registration fee. Arrow

After paying the registration fee, you will be required to complete a background check for both Mecklenburg County and NC State University.Arrow

After these steps are completed, you will be notified of your acceptance status for the training program. The program will begin in early January 2024 and end near the end of May 2024 with Graduation occurring in early June 2024. 

Please note that acceptance to the program is not guaranteed as class size is limited.

If you need more information please email We look forward to hearing from you!