- Posted By: Leah J. Haynes
- Written by: Annual Volunteering and Continuing Education Requirements
As of January 1, 2012, the Ventura County Master Gardener (VCMG) Program follows the University of California fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30. The VCMG education program is scheduled from the second week of January until the fourth week of May.
Upon completion of the training program and passing the final exam with a score of 70% the trainees become Certified Master Gardeners.
In December, UCCE staff, MG Education Committee, and the MG Executive Committee members recognize new graduates with a certificate of accomplishment and celebration.
First year Master Gardeners are required to complete a total of 50 volunteer service hours of which 9 hours are spent at the helpline desk and 20 hours participating in the hands-on garden program. The twenty-one volunteer service hours remaining, can be spent participating in variety of approved projects and activities.
Master Gardeners in their second and any subsequent years are required to complete a total of 25 hour volunteer hours annually, and 12 hours of continuing education (CE). Completion of volunteer service hours and CE hours is necessary for recertification of Master Gardeners. Recertification documentation must be completed and returned promptly and upon request.
The following requirements apply:
- Master Gardener Trainees do not have to complete any CE hours during their first year but are welcome to attend CE lectures and events if space is available.
- Trainees are not eligible to earn CE hours.
- Certified Master Gardeners have until December 31st of each year to complete 25 volunteer service hours and 12 hours of CE.
- The Ventura County MG office anticipates many opportunities to earn CE credit. UCCE Staff in partnership with the CE Committee will identify eligible opportunities and ensure that there are adequate chances for MG’s to complete CE hours. We welcome your suggestions on possible topics for CE workshops. Send us an email at email@example.com with your ideas for future topics.
All scheduled CE opportunities will be posted on the internal MG website calendar. Registration for CE events is accepted by email on a first come first served basis. Certified Master Gardeners receive preference for CE opportunities. Trainees may also attend (but not received CE credit for) CE opportunities if space is available.
Volunteer Service Policy: What Counts?
Primary ways to earn volunteer service hours:
- Support and complete work assignments at MG Approved Garden Sites.
- Coordinate approved events and activities.
- Set-up and volunteer at the HGW workshops.
- Work on clerical type tasks in the UCCE offices.
- Coordinate approved speakers’ series in your local community.
- Coordinate plantings for special events and speaking engagements.
- Answer questions at the Helpline Desk.
- Attend MG committee and general meetings.
- Support approved outreach program activities.
- Distribute approved brochures and information flyers.
Continuing Education Policy: What Counts?
Primary ways to earn CE credit:
- Participation in UCCE sponsored educational activities. This is the preferred way for MG’s to earn their CE hours. It includes training classes, lectures given by UCCE faculty and advisors, as well as workshops, seminars, and conferences sponsored by the CE Committee. For MG’s who are unable to attend CE classes in-person, the UC offers a variety of web-based and other online learning opportunities (i.e. UCTV, videos on the IPM website) that are eligible for CE credit as well.
- Other educational activities approved in advance by the UCCE MGP staff. This is much more of a gray area. In order to earn credit for attending outside educational opportunities or activities, MG’s must submit a written request that includes information related to what you hope to learn, explains how it is relevant to our local area, and your willingness to share information learned with other MG’s and the general public.
Please remember that, while information from other sources can provide context for our work as Master Gardeners, our recommendations must come from UC research-based sources.
Please note that 1 hour of instruction may not equate to 1 hour of CE credit.
If there is a 4-hour garden tour that involves admiring flowers and stopping for lunch – as well as learning relevant information that MG’s can use to educate the public – only a portion of the time will be able to be counted as CE credits. The MG program will determine in advance how many hours are appropriate and publicize these on the VMS in advance of the meeting. If you want to attend a non-UC educational event and receive CE credit for it, you must notify UC Staff prior to the CE opportunity, not after you have attended the session. There may be more potential CE opportunities that fall outside of these guidelines. Don’t hesitate to contact the MG Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or requests for CE credit, even if you’re not exactly sure whether it would be eligible. Again be sure to ask before you attend!