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Become an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer – Mecklenburg County

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NC State Extension Master Gardener Mecklenburg County

Extension Master GardenerSM 

Volunteer Program       

Although our application window for the Spring 2024 class has now closed, you may fill out this form to be notified when applications for the next class are available.

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 GardenerSM 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.

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

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!