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Extension Master Gardener Volunteers

Have a gardening question?

The Rutherford Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer hotline can be reached by emailing us at with any home gardening questions. Questions can also be asked via phone by calling the Rutherford County Extension Center at 828-287-6010.

Are you interested in becoming an Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer?

Join a network of passionate gardeners across the state who are dedicated to learning and sharing research-based information, enhancing their communities through horticulture, and connecting people with the benefits of gardening. Become a Master Gardener℠ volunteer!

How to become a Master Gardener Volunteer Youtube Video

Submit an Application

Submitting an application is the first step you need to take to start the program. Email our Horticulture Agent, Hannah Bundy at if you would like an application.

If you are curious about the program and would like to learn more you can read about the statewide requirements and policies.

Complete Initial Volunteer Training

Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer initial training prepares you to be a Master Gardener℠ volunteer. The course introduces a wide range of horticultural topics, with a focus on finding research-based information and sharing the science behind sustainable gardening practices.

Initial training includes:

  • Minimum of 40 hours of instruction
  • Taught by Extension staff and local experts
  • Topics include soils and plant nutrients, composting, insects, Integrated Pest Management, lawns, food production, organic gardening, herbaceous, woody and native plants, wildlife, landscape design and more.
  • Field trips that add to learning opportunities
  • Take-home open-book exam

Curious about the textbook we use? Check out the online Extension Gardener Handbook.

Upcoming Trainings

The next initial volunteer training in Rutherford County is scheduled to start in the Fall of 2020.

Complete Volunteer Internship

All Rutherford Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer Interns are required to complete 40 hours of service to learn more about horticulture and give back to our community.

During the internship, volunteers rotate through a variety of volunteer opportunities that support the educational outreach priorities of our Extension center. We encourage volunteers to start projects that they are passionate about when they are made aware of a community need.

Become Certified

Once the 40-hour internship has been completed the volunteer is eligible to become a Certified Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer.

Maintain Certification

In order to remain active in the program, Master Gardener℠ Volunteers must meet annual re-certification requirements. Annually in Rutherford we require:

  • 20 hours of volunteer service and
  • 10 hours of continuing education.

Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteers: