Master Gardener Program

How do I become a Certified Master Gardener?

Thank you for your interest in becoming a Wisconsin Master Gardener! Master Gardener training consists of an online curriculum called ‘Foundations in Gardening’ offered annually in September (registration begins in summer) followed by an onboarding and certification process. For more information about the Wisconsin Master Gardener Program, visit: .

Volunteer Service Activities in Dane County for Master Gardeners:

At the successful conclusion of onboarding, you will be ready to volunteer as a certified Master Gardener! Note that you cannot volunteer as a Master Gardener until training and onboarding are completed.

We also strongly encourage you to attend an open house session in spring with Lisa Johnson, Horticulture Educator for Dane County Extension, after you have onboarded to meet current Master Gardeners, learn more about various fellowship opportunities and be introduced to a number of volunteer activities in Dane County. If you’re interested please reach out to Lisa Johnson at

Some core volunteer activities with the Dane County Extension office as an Extension Horticulture Volunteer that qualify for Master Gardener volunteer service hours include the following. Note that since these activities are overseen by Extension, a background check and Mandated Reporter Training will be needed. Contact Lisa Johnson for information on obtaining the needed background check and MRT training.

  • The Dane County Extension Teaching Garden as part of a team in one of the 12 garden areas, help start seeds in the new greenhouse and help during the Plant Sale. For more information on the Teaching Garden, Click Here.
  • Plant Health Advisor (PHA) work: This entails an extra layer of training to learn how to answer gardening questions for the public. It is one of the best ways to learn! You will be paired with an experienced PHA to learn the ropes until you are comfortable on your own. PHAs work at the County Extension office or remotely, at Farmers Markets and at community events.
  • Dane County Extension Speakers Bureau: We have over a dozen scripted PowerPoints that Extension Horticulture Volunteers present to various community groups every year. If you prefer to work with a co-presenter, that can be accommodated.
  • Dane County Fair: Work with other Extension Horticulture Volunteers at the Dane County Fair booth in the Alliant Energy Center to provide/oversee fun, educational activities with children.
  • Providing support for classes such as the online Green Thumb Gardening series or in-person workshops such as pruning, houseplant plant propagation, or seed starting.
  • If you’re interested please reach out to Lisa Johnson at

Fellowship and Continuing Education Opportunities with MAMGA:

Madison Area Master Gardener Association (MAMGA): MAMGA is the local Master Gardener association that supports Dane County Master Gardeners with monthly social and educational events. MAMGA provides other benefits to members as well, such as discounts at area nurseries and retailers, free admission to MAMGA-sponsored programs, garden tours, and more. After you complete onboarding, you are eligible for membership. For more information about MAMGA, click here.

Questions?  Please contact the Wisconsin Master Gardener Program Office at    

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