Become an Extension Master Gardener

VCE Master Gardener Program

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

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What is an Extension Master Gardener?

An Extension Master Gardener is an individual who, after receiving specialized training in environmental horticulture through the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE), acts as a volunteer educator within his or her community.  An Extension Master Gardener (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 Volunteer Training Program include?

Developed by Virginia Tech horticulture specialists, VCE Agents, and the state Master Gardener Program Coordinator’s office, the 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.

When and where will the 2020 Volunteer Training Program be held – and how can I apply?

In 2020, our classes are planned for Tuesdays during the day from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from September 8th through November 17th, although dates are subject to change pending room reservation approval. The majority of our classes will take place at the Fairlington Community Center, in south Arlington, near Alexandria at 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington, 22206.  

We will be having an Information Night on May 21st, from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. where you can learn about the Volunteer Training Program, ask questions, and meet current Interns and certified Extension Master Gardeners.

After our Information Night on 21 May, we will be opening our registration process and accepting applications.

The application paperwork must be complete and will include:

We will review the applications as they come in.  Selected applicants will be scheduled for interviews in June and July.

We intend to notify those selected for the class in early August.  At that time payment will be due to reserve your class spot.  The fee for Arlington/Alexandria residents is $255 and the fee for non-residents is $305. There is also an optional needed-based scholarship form, that you may submit if appropriate.  While the Volunteer Training program is open to non-residents of Arlington County and the City of Alexandria, only residents of these two jurisdictions will be considered for a scholarship.

For additional information, please contact
Master Gardener Program Coordinator Leslie Fillmore at

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.

Where can I see what Extension Master Gardeners do?

Learn all about our extensive EMG activities by exploring this website.  You can also find EMGs at the following locations in Arlington and Alexandria, as well as at many special events such as the Arlington’s Home and Garden Expo, Alexandria’s Earth Day, and the Arlington County Fair:

Supported by VCE & MGNV

The Virginia Cooperative Extension is your local connection to Virginia’s land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University.

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

For more information about training or becoming a Master Gardener, please contact the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Horticulture Help Desk at 703-228-6414 or email;  or visit us at 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington VA 22206.