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Become a Master Gardener!

What is a Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer?

In New York State the master gardener program is a volunteer service program not a course or certificate.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) programs are managed individually by county CCE associations. Volunteer training occurs at different intervals for each county. Counties select volunteers as needed through an application process from their pool of residents of that county. It is rare that a county will select an applicant from another county.

Core horticulture training is the first requirement of the CCE Master Gardener Volunteer commitment, followed by an agreement to volunteer at the host county for one or more years for a specific number of hours. Once you stop volunteering you are no longer a master gardener as it is not a certificate program.

If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer in Erie County, please contact the CCE Erie County office at (716)652-5400

Consumer Horticulture Program New Master Gardener Volunteer Training


We are not currently accepting applications for a new Master Gardener Volunteer Training Class.  CCE Erie hosts a New Master Gardener Volunteer Training series as interest exists and resources permit, approximately every 2-3 years.  The most recent classes were held in January 2022, and we are working with these new volunteers as they complete their two-year Master Gardener Program apprenticeship.  There are currently two opportunities to become a volunteer in the area of consumer horticulture  with CCE Erie.  One is to take a Seed to Supper facilitator workshop series.    Another option is to participate in the early spring CommuniTree Steward classes provided with sponsorship from the Buffalo Green Fund.  See details in the CTS section of our website: .  You might also check with a neighboring county CCE office to see when they are offering a Training.  We allow people who have been trained by another county to transfer into our Program.

CCE Erie's New Master Gardener volunteer training classes provide six - ten weeks of instruction followed by testing in key areas relevant to carrying out the duties of a CCE Erie Master Gardener volunteer including Botany, Soils, Composting, Climate Change, Pest Identification and Management, Wildlife Management, Plant Diseases, Native Plants, Pruning and Lawn Care. Seven hands-on projects/events with site visits are also planned. Participation in at least three of the events is required. Once the training requirements are met, the Trainee becomes a Master Gardener Program Apprentice and must complete 50 hours of volunteer service for each of the next two years to become an Active Program Volunteer.

Selected course participants pay a course fee which typically includes materials. Class size is limited to 30.  Each trainee is expected to attend all training classes with any missed sessions to be made up at the discretion of the supervising CCE Erie Educator.

If you have questions or would like to be placed on the contact list for future trainings, please contact Jolie Hibit at 716-652-5400 x 176 or  Additional information about the CCE Erie Master Gardener Program is available on the CCE Erie website ( and from Cornell’s Garden Based Learning Program


About Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County (CCE Erie) puts knowledge to work to build stronger communities. CCE Erie provides educational programs in Agriculture, 4-H Youth Development, Nutrition, and Consumer Horticulture. Currently, CCE Erie offers training and educational programs to support the efforts of our over 75 Master Gardener Program volunteers.

The documents and forms below need to be complete when you apply to take the Training series to become a Master Gardener:

Master Gardener Recruitment Letter

Volunteer Application

Background Check Form

Click here to see information on our Program Policy Statements.

Last updated April 5, 2024