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Carolina Jessamine
Cooperative Extension

About Master Gardener

More about Master Gardener

2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the Extension Master Gardener Program. Faced with an overwhelming public demand for home gardening information, Area Extension Agents David Gibby and Bill Sheer proposed a train the trainer type model in which volunteers would be trained in the science of gardening and would then offer that information to the public. Although initially met with skepticism from the administration at Washington State Extension, the concept was embraced by the public. Approximately 200 people participated in the first Master Gardener training classes offered in King and Pierce counties in 1973.

Today, there is a Master Gardener Program in most of the United States as well as the District of Columbia administered by a land-grand institution’s Cooperative Extension Service. Exceptions include Massachusetts and Canadian provinces which are considered affiliate programs through their involvement with the bi-annual International Master Gardener Conference (IMGC). According to the 2020 National Extension Master Gardener Survey, at least 84,700 Extension Master Gardener volunteers contributed 3.1 million hours of service valued at 76.4 million dollars.

First offered in Charleston County in 1981, the South Carolina Master Gardener Program operates in more than half of the state’s 46 counties. These dedicated volunteers support the mission of Clemson Cooperative Extension as they work within their local communities to share gardening and horticulture related information.

The Master Gardener Volunteer Training Class (MGVTC) is offered between August 1 and December 31. Dates and times vary by host site. If you’d like to be notified of the next MGVTC in your area, please complete this form.

Master Gardener Highlights

July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023 reporting year

27 Counties with a Master Gardener program

919 Volunteers

66,219 Volunteer Hours

184,210 Adults Reached

24,256 Youth Reached

2.1 Million Value of Volunteer Time

Cooperative Extension Master Gardener
Cooperative Extension Master Gardener | 2200 Pocket Road, Florence, SC 29506