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Portrait of smiling woman holding potted flower in garden

Partnership Based

How Does Extension Master Gardener Work?

This program represents an effective partnership between the land grant universities of this state, Alabama Extension Home Grounds agents, motivated volunteers, and local Extension Master Gardener associations. Extension Master Gardeners offer their communities gardening information and educational opportunities.

The Gardener Helpline

(877) 252-4769

Service Oriented

What Is Extension Master Gardener?

This Alabama Cooperative Extension System Home Grounds program expands the team’s outreach by recruiting and training volunteer educators.

How Did Extension Master Gardener Begin?

This Extension volunteer program began at Washington State University in 1973.

Alabama’s program began in 1981 with Extension Agent Gary Murray and an energetic Cornell Extension Master Gardener, Mary Lou McNabb, who had moved to Huntsville.

Community Motivated

What Is Intern Training?

Research-based information is our foundation and equips volunteers to fulfill our program’s mission.

The course’s hybrid format requires online and face-to-face participation. These methods reinforce learning in various topics:

  • Soil and composting
  • Botany
  • Plant care and management
  • Home lawns
  • Vegetable gardening
  • and more

Participants are welcome to join classes in any host county, regardless of residence. Agents rotate host county locations each year.

Extension Trained

What Does Intern Training Require?

Interns are required to attend face-to-face classes, achieve a maximum score of 70 percent on quizzes, and participate in a minimum of 50 hours volunteer service. Projects range from answering Helpline calls and assisting Extension agent workshops to ongoing community projects.

A registration fee and background check are required for the intern training.

To learn more, visit www.aces.edu and search Become an Alabama Extension Master Gardener.

Extension Master Gardener Vision and Mission

Vision: As Alabama Extension Master Gardener volunteers and ambassadors, we aspire to

  • teach all generations
  • inspire a lifelong pursuit of research-based knowledge
  • serve as environmental stewards
  • draw all people to the joys of gardening

Mission: We improve the lives of Alabamians through research-based horticulture education delivered by a Dedicated, Trained, and Involved Extension volunteer team.


Kerry SmithOutreach Programs Administrator; and Emily BurchfieldOutreach Programs Administrator; both in Horticulture with Auburn University

Revised April 2024, Alabama Extension Master Gardeners Volunteer Program Brochure, ANR-1120

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