University of Missouri Extension, Adopted 3 November 2000
The mission of the Missouri Master Gardener program is to train volunteers to educate others about safe, effective and sustainable horticultural practices that build healthy gardens, landscapes, and communities. The Missouri Master Gardener program strives to provide in- depth horticultural training to individuals throughout Missouri who then volunteer their time applying what they have learned to help others in their communities learn about gardening and environmental stewardship. Additionally, the Missouri Master Gardener program promotes and raises public awareness throughout Missouri of University of Missouri Extension as a source of unbiased, research-based gardening information.
Early in our nationís history, universities found that the delivery of information directly to farmers and other workers did not fit the traditional classroom model. The Cooperative Extension Service resulted from the effort to reach more people on their home territory and was authorized by the Smith-Lever Act of 1914. This act allowed land-grant universities (such as the University of Missouri) and county commissions to form offices that develop educational programs that meet local needs.
The Master Gardener program began in the early 1970ís, when the Washington Extension Service sought to respond to the many gardening questions that resulted from the rapidly increasing level of interest in home gardening. The concept they originated was to train knowledgeable gardener volunteers to help university Extension staff deliver home gardening information to the public. From the first group of Seattle area Master Gardeners in 1972, the program has spread nation-wide. All 50 states and several Canadian provinces now have Master Gardener programs.
The Missouri Master Gardener program is administered by the state coordinator, either through the regional coordinator, where one exists, or directly to local programs. Local program coordination may vary, depending on initial structure and size. Master Gardeners may be guided directly by an advisory or steering committee or through a coordinator.
The following definitions are associated with the Missouri Master Gardener program:
Recruitment of Master Gardener trainees is based on a local team action plan developed from pre-planning and an established need for local Master Gardener volunteer activities. Applicants to the Missouri Master Gardener program must submit a written application, answering all questions on the standardized Master Gardener application form. Additionally, applicants must complete and sign the Master Gardener Exchange of Services Agreement. This agreement lays the ground work for volunteer involvement in the Master Gardener program. It ensures from the outset that participants have a clear understanding of the program's goals. Copies of the signed agreement are to be kept by the state coordinator, local program coordinator(s) and the trainee.
Before individuals may become Master Gardener trainees, they must first receive orientation to the program, including a review of University of Missouri Extension policies and volunteer opportunities at the local program level.
All completed forms will be reviewed by the local program coordinator, the regional coordinator or the state coordinator. Applications and in-person interviews may be used to determine if candidates are appropriate for the program.
Final decisions for acceptance into the program will be made without regard to race, religion, color, age, disability, sexual orientation, military status, national origin or gender.
To ensure that all Master Gardener trainees receive the basic resources they need, the State Master Gardener office requires a fee of $55 per person for core training. For this fee the State Missouri Master Gardener office will provide:
Local training sites may increase the training fee additional expenses for facilities, copying, mailings, refreshments, etc. Travel expenses for non-University of Missouri Extension personnel involved with training may also increase the fee of a local site.
No fee will be required of Active Master Gardeners and Master Gardeners Emeritus who attend core course sessions for review.
Core course topics shall include those contained in the core course textbook published by University of Missouri Extension. They include:
Not more than three (3) classes may be missed from core course training and all missed classes must be made up. Videotapes of topics contained in the core course textbook for class make-up are available from the State Master Gardener office.
Active Master Gardeners are required to complete six hours of advanced training yearly. The nature of advanced training shall be at the discretion of the local program coordinator, the regional coordinator or the state coordinator. The basic guideline is that Master Gardener advanced training should augment and reinforce the Master Gardener core course training.
The Missouri Master Gardener program trains volunteers to educate others about safe, effective and sustainable horticultural practices that build healthy gardens, landscapes, and communities. Master Gardener Trainees are expected volunteer for the number of hours equal to the number of hours of classroom training they received. Typically this is 30 hours. Most trainees find this volunteer component very rewarding, and sometimes even more educational than time spent in the classroom. Trainees have one year to complete their initial volunteer service.
Upon completion of their initial volunteer commitment, trainees become Certified Missouri Master Gardeners. A minimum of 20 hours of volunteer service is required of all Certified Missouri Master Gardeners each year.
Missouri Master Gardener volunteers are representatives of University of Missouri Extension. In all cases they are expected to conduct themselves in a professional, businesslike manner. Additionally, Missouri Master Gardener volunteer service activities must adhere to University of Missouri Extensionís non-discrimination policy which states that equal opportunity is and shall be provided to all participants in Extension programs and activities without discrimination on the basis of their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran. Special accommodations because of a disability should be provided to Extension program participants whenever possible.
Activities that may be counted toward the required number of volunteer service hours shall be at the discretion of local and/or regional program coordinators, working in conjunction with the state coordinator. All service activities are to contribute to the goals and mission of local Extension programs and Master Gardeners may not gain financially from volunteer service.
Individual consultation with friends and neighbors can be counted as volunteer time given proper documentation. Local coordinators may limit the amount of individual consultation hours.
Volunteer service may be done in a dual capacity. For example, a Master Gardener may also be a member of a garden club or other civic group that requires service activity. As long as an individual identifies himself as a Missouri Master Gardener, and has the local coordinator's approval, the volunteer activity may "count" for both organizations.
An example of activity that does not count as volunteer Master Gardener time is that of a garden center employee being paid by her or his employer to conduct a plant clinic. Even though the employee may be a Missouri Master Gardener or trainee, the paid time does not qualify as volunteer service.
Missouri Master Gardeners may collect fees or honoraria to cover expenses and operating costs associated with approved service activities, but are not to profit from them. For example, an individual Master Gardener may collect mileage for travel to approved programs, be reimbursed for supplies used in a service project, or be reimbursed for telephone expenses and postage related to Master Gardener programs. Honoraria or other gratuities received (beyond mileage) for speaking engagements shall be turned over to the local Master Gardener group. Failure to do so disqualifies the activity as Master Gardener volunteer service.
It is the responsibility of every Missouri Master Gardener to document and report their volunteer hours. Volunteer hours for approved programs should be reported using the Missouri Master Gardener web page (report.missourimastergardener.com). For individual who lack internet access, volunteer hours may be reported to the local Master Gardener coordinator.
Volunteer reports are important in assessing the value of the Missouri Master Gardener program to our state as well as to University Extension. While the value of one individual Master Gardenerís volunteer time may seem insignificant, when the efforts of some 2,000 Master Gardeners statewide are totaled, the result is thousands upon thousands of dollars-worth of service donated annually.
The federal government requires Extension to keep track of client ethnicity to document discrimination is not practiced in delivering our programs. Master Gardener volunteers have the same responsibility for maintaining program standards as do regular Extension employees.
Missouri Master Gardeners who have completed both core course training and the initial volunteer requirement in Missouri are eligible to become Master Gardener volunteers in the locale of their new residency. They will be subject to the guidelines of the new locale and may be required to take additional core course work as required in their new locality.
Master Gardener trainees who have not completed their volunteer service prior to moving may be required to pass a local examination (if any) and to complete additional course work prior to becoming volunteers in their new locale.
Master Gardeners moving into Missouri from another state may be required to complete the entire Master Gardener training prior to volunteering in Missouri. Local program coordinators, in consultation with the state coordinator, will determine whether a transferring Master Gardener needs further training. In addition, a transfer fee is required.
The Master Gardener program is a University of Missouri Extension public service aimed at providing unbiased, research-based horticultural information and education. Master Gardener training and projects must be Extension-related, educational in nature and represent the interests of University of Missouri Extension. At no time shall there be an association with commercial activity or products, or the implication of University endorsement to any product or place of business.
The designation Missouri Master Gardener is the property of the University of Missouri and is to be used exclusively by Master Gardeners trained and certified under the auspices of University Extension. Only those individuals certified in the program after completing the core instruction may call themselves Missouri Master Gardeners.
Certified individuals are not to advertise themselves as Missouri Master Gardeners in their names or places of business, nor be listed as such in business advertising. Association with commercial activities or products, or the giving of implied University endorsement to any product or place of business, is a violation of Missouri Master Gardener program policies.
Individuals may be dismissed from the Missouri Master Gardener program and thus must cease using the title for failure to complete educational training, volunteer service hours and/or required reports. Additionally individuals who fail to represent the University of Missouri Extension Service in a professional and positive manner during the course of Master Gardener activities are subject to dismissal.
The University of Missouri provides defense and protection against loss, damage or expense for its employees, students and volunteers. The terms and conditions of coverage are outlined in the Universityís Collected Rules and Regulations 490.010. Full details of 490.010 can be found here.