Become an Extension Master Gardener

Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) Master Gardener Program


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Thank you for your interest in our Extension Master Gardener (EMG) volunteer training program for Arlington and the City of Alexandria.  VCE is your local connection to Virginia’s land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University.

Offered by VCE, Arlington County Office, and in partnership with the City of Alexandria, the VCE Master Gardener program trains participants in best management practices for gardening and landscaping that preserve and sustain the environment.

EMGs are supported by our association, MGNV, a 501(C)(3) non-profit, which collaborates with VCE to further our parallel goals of providing community education about sustainable gardening practices.

What is an Extension Master Gardener (EMG)?

An EMG is an individual who, after receiving specialized training in environmental horticulture through the VCE, acts as a volunteer educator within his or her community.  An EMG provides education on all aspects of sustainable landscape management, including turf and soil fertility management, vegetable and ornamental gardening, tree and shrub care, storm water control, and insect and plant disease management.

What does the EMG volunteer training program include?

Developed by Virginia Tech horticulture specialists, VCE Agents, and the state Master Gardener Program Coordinator’s office, the EMG volunteer training program consists of two parts: 60 hours of classroom training, and a 60-hour hands-on internship.  In class, trainees learn about basic botany and soil science, woody and herbaceous plants, vegetable gardening, Integrated Pest Management practices, lawn care, etc. The internship includes hands-on experience in our demonstration gardens, at our plant clinics, and with public education.

Who should take the class?

If you want to be a volunteer educator, love gardening, and want to protect our environment by sharing what you learn with our community, this class is for you! Once certified, EMGs teach the community about our best management practices for urban agriculture and sustainable landscaping. EMGs retain their certifications by annually completing 20 volunteer hours and 8 hours of continuing education.

For more information about training or becoming an EMG, please contact our Volunteer Training Program Coordinator, Leslie Fillmore, by email at