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2020 UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County Training Class Application


University of California Cooperative Extension
133 Aviation Blvd. Suite 109, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County
Volunteer Application Form

 Applications for the 2020 Training Class MUST be received by 5:00 p.m. September 23, 2019

If you love to garden, to learn about horticulture, and want to share your information with others, the UC Master Gardeners of Sonoma County offer you the opportunity to learn and to use your knowledge of gardening to serve the community.

The UC Master Gardener program is a volunteer organization that provides education to home gardeners. Master Gardeners of Sonoma County have a deep commitment to community service and are willing to volunteer as agents of the University of California Cooperative Extension.

If accepted into the UC Master Gardener Training Program in Sonoma County, Trainees must:

  • Attend ALL training classes every Thursday, January through May. There may be one class held on Saturday.
  • Complete nine hours of training at the Information Desk. This training is individually scheduled during February and March and is in addition to the training classes mentioned above. 
  • Be fingerprinted and pass a Department of Justice background investigation. (If CA residency is less than 2 years, an FBI background screening will be conducted instead of the DOJ background investigation.) Complete/sign a Volunteer Confidential Self-Disclosure Form before finalizing acceptance into the program. Fingerprinting requires an appointment and must be done no later than December 31, 2019. Details will be presented to you at your interview.
  • By June 30 of the year following the completion of the Training Program, volunteer for and report at least 50 hours on approved Master Gardener activities. These hourly requirements are fulfilled by working at the Information Desk and on selected other projects. 
  • Volunteer each year after the first year for at least 25 hours per year on approved Master Gardener volunteer activities, plus complete at least 12 hours of approved continuing education.

The (non-refundable) fee for the classes is $285. The fee will be collected after you are accepted as a trainee. Do not enclose the fee with your application. Limited scholarships are available. If you are accepted, you will be informed about how to apply for assistance.

To be considered for acceptance you must attend one orientation meeting either on Monday, October 7, 2019 from 6pm to 8pm or Tuesday, October 8, 2019, from 10am to 12pm, at the Luther Burbank Art & Garden Center at 2050 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa. At this time, the Master Gardener organization and requirements will be fully explained.

Your interview will be scheduled on a date between October 21 through October 28. TO BE CONSIDERED FOR THE CLASS OF 2020, YOU MUST BE AVAILABLE FOR AN INTERVIEW DURING THIS TIME. NO EXCEPTIONS.

PLEASE NOTE: Interviews will be held at the UC Cooperative Extension office, 133 Aviation Blvd # 109, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. Selection of members for the new training class will take place by end of October, and you will be notified of the results by the first week of November. If you have questions about the required orientation meeting, please call the Master Gardener Coordinator at 565-2880. You will receive an email acknowledging receipt of your application.

Most, if not all, communication to members of the Training Class will be via e-mail. Vital documents for the Training Class members will also be available online; therefore, it is critical that candidates for the Master Gardener Program have computer familiarity and availability.

FAQs about the UC Master Gardener Program

What is the Master Gardener Program?

The UC Master Gardener program is certified by the University of California Cooperative Extension in the areas of home gardening and horticulture. Since 1981, the UC Master Gardener program has been training volunteers and extending information and technical assistance to residential gardeners in Sonoma County.

What training is given to Master Gardeners?

Master Gardener trainees attend a training program comprised of instruction in plant science and horticulture covering such topics as soils, fertilizers, irrigation, weeds, diseases, insects and other pests, fruit and landscape trees, vegetables, xeriscaping, and more. Each trainee receives The California Master Gardener Handbook, as well as other UCCE publications.

Classes are taught by experts in their fields, including Cooperative Extension Advisors and specialists from the University of California at Berkeley and Davis, local community college faculty, and other knowledgeable resource people.

Who becomes a Master Gardener?

Master Gardeners are people of all ages and from all walks of life. They include businessmen and women, professionals, educators, retirees, homemakers, and students — all with some knowledge of plants and gardening. Master Gardeners are enthusiastic, willing to learn and able to communicate with diverse groups of people.

Can I add a “Master Gardener” reference to my business card?

The title “Master Gardener volunteer”, as well as the UCCE Master Gardener Program name badge may only be used by appointed MG volunteers, and only when they are in the course and scope of their UCCE Master Gardener volunteer activities. It may not be used for commercial purposes. However, the training, experience, and certification gained by individuals in the UCCE Master Gardener Program may be referenced as personal qualifications, for example when seeking employment.

What is the Master Gardener's commitment to the program?

After completing the training and passing a written exam, the new Master Gardeners are required to complete a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer service their first year after training class ends. Master Gardeners are selected on the basis of their ability to fulfill this commitment. In order to retain the title Master Gardener in ensuing years, Master Gardeners must complete 12 hours of continuing education per year and perform 25 hours of volunteer service per year.

What is Cooperative Extension?

The University of California Cooperative Extension is part of a nationwide program established by an Act of Congress in 1914 as part of the Land Grant University in every state. Three levels of government participate in funding Cooperative Extension programs: federal, through USDA, provides a portion of the budget; state, through the universities, pays for statewide programs; and county, which provides housing and operating expenses for local Cooperative Extension offices. The University of California Cooperative Extension works in cooperation with federal and county governments to provide local educational programs throughout California.

The mission of the University of California Cooperative Extension is to develop, extend, and bring about the use of research based knowledge to improve specific practices and technologies. In addition, Cooperative Extension makes practical information generally available. Cooperative Extension has research support and organizational capacity in agriculture and natural resources, in family and consumer science, in community resource development, and in youth development.

University of California county staff (Advisors) are located in county Cooperative Extension offices in nearly every county in California. County Advisors extend knowledge, conduct field research, and provide leadership in selected Cooperative Extension program areas.

By completing the questions below, and submitting the answers/information, you are agreeing to the following:

I understand that, if accepted, I will not become a certified Master Gardener until I satisfactorily complete the training course, score at least 70% on the examinations, and fulfill the first-year Master Gardener requirements: 50 hours on approved Master Gardener activities by the end of June in the year following the training class. To remain in the Master Gardener program, each year I must complete 25 hours of volunteer service and 12 hours of continuing education. I must submit monthly records of my volunteer hours. I also understand that there is a non-refundable training fee of $285. I am committed to community service in Sonoma County and am willing to act as an agent of the University of California Cooperative Extension. I agree to comply with the requirements delineated in the UCCE Master Gardener Program Administrative Handbook.

Please complete the following application and click the "Submit" button. You will receive an email confirmation that your application has been submitted, and you will also be provided with a link to your application where you can edit your responses if needed, no later than Friday, September 23, 2019 by 5:00 PM.

I have read the above paragraph and agree to the conditions.

The University of California Division of Agriculture & Natural Resources (ANR) prohibits discrimination or harassment of any person in any of its programs or activities .Complete nondiscrimination policy statement can be found at