About

Become a Master Gardener - Recruiting for the 2017 Class
January 25 thru May 17, 2017

Classes meet each Wednesday through May 17, although no class on March 8 due to our High Desert Gardening & Landscaping Conference.  Class meets 10:00am - 1:00pm in Room 503, Groth Hall, University of Arizona Sierra Vista Campus, 1140 N. Colombo, Sierra Vista.

Would you like to become a Master Gardener?  Are you interested in becoming more knowledgeable by receiving university level training in horticulture?  Do you have the passion, the commitment, and the willingness to serve your community by providing a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer service each year?  Are you willing to assist Cooperative Extension by providing educational information to the community in home gardening and landscaping? If you can answer yes to these questions, we would love to have you join our ranks.

To become a Master Gardener in Cochise County you must complete the formal Master Gardener training in Cochise County, and then complete 50 volunteer hours within 13 months to become certified. After that, there is an annual requirement of 25 volunteer hours and 12 continuing education hours per fiscal year to remain certified.

The 16-week training course, delivered by University of Arizona Cooperative Extension faculty, specialists, and local experts is held each year (January to May) with half-day sessions each Wednesday.

The course content includes current science-based information on such topics as: basic botany, soils/plant nutrition, fruit tree care, planting, staking, pruning, ornamental trees and shrubs, water/irrigation, insects, integrated pest management, vegetables, native plants, turf care, plant diseases, pesticide safety, and water conservation.

Master Gardeners are representatives of the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. In all volunteer work related to the program, Master Gardeners follow the research-based recommendations of the UA Cooperative Extension.

Applicants should want to learn more about gardening in the high desert, enjoy meeting others with similar gardening interests, enjoy sharing knowledge with others in your community, and have time to meet the volunteer and continuing education requirements. Submitted applications must be post-marked by January 18th. A maximum of 25 applicants can be accepted due to space limitations and are considered in the order they are received. The course fee is a cost recovery fee, and is dependent on the projected costs of materials, so it varies from year to year.

The primary focus of the volunteer work is providing science-based horticultural information to the community. Some examples of volunteer work are:

  • staffing horticulture help lines in the Cooperative Extension offices
  • giving talks, demonstrations, etc. to groups
  • sharing horticulture information at festivals, farmers markets, etc.
  • assisting students in school gardens
  • providing horticultural advice to individuals, groups, and establishments
  • organizing educational programs and conferences, plant clinics
  • write articles for the monthly High on the Desert Newsletter
  • creating and maintaining demonstration gardens which showcase new plants, new planting methods, composting, new irrigation methods, etc.

What really sets Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners is their special training in horticulture. In exchange for their training, persons who become Master Gardeners contribute time as volunteers, working through their Extension office to provide horticultural-related information to their communities. The type of service done by Master Gardeners varies according to community needs, and the abilities and interests of the Master Gardeners.

The Master Gardener Program began in King and Pierce Counties of Washington State in 1972 by Dr. David Gibby, an exhausted county Horticultural Extension Agent, who realized that he could multiply his resources by training amateur gardeners, who in return, would help answer the overwhelming questions that came into his office.

The program became a huge success and today there are Master Gardener Programs in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and three Canadian Provinces. In 1987, Cochise County Extension Agent Dr. Deborah Young started the county program.

If you are unable to commit the volunteer time to the Master Gardener program but want to participate in the training, there is an alternate option at an increased fee. You may also purchase the Arizona Master Gardener Manual through CALSmart online or by calling (520) 626-5161. CALSmart is located at 4101 N. Campbell, Tucson, AZ 85719.

For more information on the Master Gardener Program please contact Jan Groth, Coordinator at:
Cooperative Extension, UA Sierra Vista, 1140 N. Colombo, Sierra Vista, Arizona 85635-2390
Tel: (520) 458-8278 ext 2176
jangroth@email.arizona.edu