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Carolina Jessamine
Cooperative Extension

Master Gardener: Current Volunteers

Volunteer Service Categories

Many people ask what “counts” toward the official volunteer service requirements of the South Carolina Master Gardener Program. Master Gardener Volunteers play a major role in helping their local Extension Offices provide reliable home gardening and horticulture related information. Since local needs vary, Master Gardener Coordinators develop approved volunteer opportunities that complement their plan of work.

In general, volunteer service falls into three major categories: educational service, administration, and community service. Educational service is the most important as it directly reflects the mission of Clemson Cooperative Extension and the South Carolina Master Gardener Program.

Educational Service

These are volunteer hours dedicated to teaching others research-based information about gardening and other horticulture related topics. Forty (40) hours of educational service are required for initial certification, and twenty (20) hours are required annually (July 1 – June 30) to maintain certification. There are nine (9) subcategories of educational service. If none of the subcategories are appropriate, select the main educational service category. If you have questions, please contact your local Master Gardener Coordinator. There may be subtle differences in how the categories are used within each Master Gardener Program.

  • In-person Consultation: Answering questions and/or providing information through face-to-face interaction. An example would be answering questions for people that walk into the Extension Office.

  • Phone Consultation: Answering questions and/or providing information via telephone at an Extension Office or other designated location.

  • Ask A Master Gardener (Farmers Market): Assist with plant clinics and home gardening information booths at Farmers Market events.

  • Ask A Master Gardener (not Farmers Market): Booth/exhibit/display staffed by Master Gardeners at location other than Farmers Market. (garden center, community center, etc.)

  • Mass Media: Creation of educational content for newspaper articles, web content, TV content, podcasts, etc.

  • Educational Program Delivery: An instructional role in which you are the speaker/instructor/lecturer. This may also be used if you are creating a presentation for an educational program.

  • Stormwater Education: Volunteer service directed specifically at stormwater/water quality. This would include giving talks about rain gardens, shorescaping, etc.

  • Youth Education (not School Garden) Educational efforts targeted to youth which are not related to a school vegetable garden.

  • School Garden Coach: Includes activities related to School Gardening for SC Educators program.


This category includes volunteer service that benefits the county Extension office, Master Gardener Association, or the State Office of the SC Master Gardener Program by providing administrative assistance. Examples include duties as a MG association officer, support activities for the Master Gardener classes, social activities, helping to coordinate a class or talk, website maintenance or development, and clerical work. These hours should be logged in the Volunteer Reporting System but are not applied to initial or annual requirements.

Community Service

Community service includes activities that are primarily labor and do not have an education component such as planting or maintaining beautification projects or community gardens. If there is an education component, such as a demonstration on pruning techniques, the activity should be reported as educational service. Community service hours should be logged in the Volunteer Reporting System but are not applied to initial or annual requirements.

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