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2020 Clay County Master Gardener Volunteer Training Now Open

The time has come to start your application for the 2020 UF/IFAS Extension Clay County Master Gardener Volunteer training!  Read below for a big about our awesome group and how to apply!

Who We Are

Mo, Susan, and Linda at the Plant Clinic Booth at the 2019 Clay County Fair.

The UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program strives to be the premier source of horticultural education in our state and the Clay County group is up to this challenge.  We have over 75 active volunteers working a wide variety of projects including school gardens, teaching workshops, planning events and fundraisers, answering questions at our plant clinics, teaching at the Clay County Fair, working in educational demonstration gardens, and coming up with innovative programs to help our growing communities.  In 2019, they volunteered over 7500 hours to the public and we work to keep expanding our outreach each year.

Part of this expansion is looking for people who are passionate about horticulture and want to make a difference to become Master Gardener Volunteers.

How to Apply

To apply, fill out the application – Master Gardener Application Packet 2020

Master Gardener Volunteer Laurie Edelman working with hydroponic vegetables at Bannerman Learning Center.

Please either fill it out electronically and email to mdalters@ufl.edu or mail to 2463 State Road 16W, Green Cove Springs, FL  32043.  You can also print it out and fill it by hand as well.  The deadline for all applications is 6/1/2020.  Once applications are received, all applicants will schedule a meeting with our coordinator and some volunteers so we can get to know you as well as to share information about the program and our services.

After the interview, you will know about your acceptance into the program by July 1st, 2020.  If accepted, you will need to then pay the course fee of $150 which covers your manual and reference books.  Classes will begin on August 12th, 2020.

Course Structure

We combine our training with St. John’s County, so the first 3 classes are held in St. John’s, followed by a one week break where we hold an orientation in Clay County, and then 3 classes in Clay.  You are required to complete all 6 of these classes to graduate but we do work with you in case circumstances require you to miss a class.  For more detail see our 2020 MG Syllabus

In addition to in-person classes, we are also using online education this year where there will be some presentations and assignments to complete each week before class.  This is done so we can make the class more accessible to people who cannot attend as many day-time classes and provide more time in class for hands-on, interactive activities.

Following completion of the classes, we will be holding a graduation ceremony and field trip to the University of Florida main campus in Gainesville.  We will be touring different labs and horticultural research areas.

After the Class

Once finished with the class, trainees will be required to complete 75 volunteer hours in their first year to become a Master Gardener.  We will work to find each trainee a mentor and help them get involved in projects that interest them throughout the county.  After your first year, all volunteers are required to complete 35 volunteer hours and 10 hours of approved training to remain a certified Master Gardener Volunteer.

Contact Us

If you have any other questions about the program or application, email us at whhobbs@ufl.edu or mdalters@ufl.edu.  We can also be reached by phone at (904)284-6355.