Orange County Master Gardener Volunteer FAQ & 2023 Recruitment

Do you love gardening? Or maybe you have a “black thumb” and want to learn more? Are you interested in being a part of a community of volunteers and sharing your gardening training with the residents in our county? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Find out what is involved in becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) for UF/IFAS Extension Orange County.

FAQ’s of the Orange County Master Gardener Volunteer Program

  • What is the Master Gardener Volunteer Program?
    • The Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a citizen-driven program that benefits UF/IFAS Extension and the residents of Florida. The program relies on dedicated volunteers who have an interest in gardening and in giving back to their communities. Orange County’s Master Gardener Volunteer Program has been serving the citizens of Orange County since 1981.The Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Program recruits individuals who are interested in gardening and enjoy sharing what they learn with others. Participants complete a 70+ hours of training sponsored by the University of Florida and the local county Extension office. Upon completion of the educational material, candidates then complete 75 hours of volunteering within their first year to become certified as a Master Gardener Volunteer.
  • I am interested in the Master Gardener training but don’t want to volunteer, can I still take the training?
    • The Master Gardener training is reserved for candidates looking to volunteer and serve our county. If you are interested in gardening classes I encourage you to check our Eventbrite page monthly for new offerings!
  • I am a landscape professional, can I take the Master Gardener training for professional development or CEUs?
  • I am interested in becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer, but the training days don’t work for my schedule. Can I still become a MGV?
    • We know that the current training schedule won’t work for everyone. However, we are considering shifting to teaching night programs in the even years (and continuing with day time trainings in the odd years.) Please check back in the future!
  • How do I become a Master Gardener Volunteer?
    • The MGV recruitment process is rigorous due to high demand and limited seat capacity. Due to the intense planning process, the training only happens once a year in the Fall. The statewide process involves: An application, interview, Florida Criminal Background Check, provide 3 references, and submit a non-refundable payment of $250 (to cover enrollment + supplies, limited scholarships available) after acceptance into the program.

2023 Recruitment Season

  • Informational Meetings (Optional, not required)Clarissa standing in front of the stage in the auditorium ready to teach:
  • Applications Open: July 1st
  • Applications Close: On or before July 30th, based on volume of applications
  • Interviews: July 31-Aug 4
  • MGV admission notifications: Aug 7
  • Registration payments accepted: Aug 7- Aug 20
  • 1st class (Zoom): Sept. 5
  • Trainings: Sept. 12-Dec 12.

MGV Requirements

  • Are a resident of Orange County.
  • Trainings will take place once a week over a 16-week period. Candidates must be available throughout the duration of the fall semester.
    • Trainings are on Tuesdays from 10 am-3 pm and rotate between the Orange County office (6021 S. Conway Rd., Orlando, FL 32812) and Osceola County office (921 Kissimmee Valley Ln, Kissimmee, FL 34744).
    • Only 1 excused absence will be accepted during the training period.
  • Volunteer 75 hours in the following calendar year after course completion, including 1 Plant Clinic shift a month.
  • Submit an application (applications open in the summer).
  • Attend an interview with the Master Gardener Coordinator.
  • Pass a Florida Criminal Background Check.
  • Provide 3 references.
  • Submit non-refundable payment of $250 (includes 7 resource books, training manual, 5 gallon hydroponic kit, nametag, and a polo) after acceptance into the program.
  • Have internet access and a valid email address.
  • Open-minded to sharing research-based horticulture.
  • No formal or prior horticulture experience required!

To be added to the mailing list for information on the next recruitment season, please click here

The fall is an exciting time for the Master Gardener Volunteer program and we look forward to welcoming new members! If you have questions about the Orange County MGV program, please reach out to Clarissa Chairez, Residential Horticulture Agent/Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator, at Happy Gardening!

Posted: May 16, 2023

Category: HOME LANDSCAPES, Horticulture
Tags: Garden, Gardening, Horticulture, Landscape, Master Gardener Volunteer, Master Gardener Volunteers, MGV, OC MGV, Ocextension, Orange County, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County, Vegetable Gardening, Volunteer

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