Do you enjoy gardening? Appreciate the environment? Enjoy helping others? Consider joining the local class session for the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) Extension Master Gardener (EMG) Program!
Depending on the format, classes either meet in-person twice per week during the afternoon or evening or are offered with a mix of on-line and in-person classes and labs. In-person sessions alternate around the five counties in the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener unit: Clarke, Frederick, Warren, Page, and Shenandoah.
To learn more, see our brochure.
Class of 2024
The Northern Shenandoah Valley Extension Master Gardener Class of 2024 will be held in person in Winchester, Virginia.
- Location: Horizon Farm Credit Conference Room, 125 Prosperity Drive, Winchester; several hands-on workshops will be held in the counties of Clarke, Page, and Shenandoah and the City of Winchester
- Days and Times: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.; some hands-on workshops will be held on Saturday mornings or afternoons
- Duration: February 20 through mid-May 2024
Please e-mail Joanne Royaltey, Consumer Horticulture and Invasive Species Program Associate email@example.com if you have additional questions about the information below.
How to Apply
- Read all the information on this webpage.
- Watch the overview video: https://youtu.be/ShGZqeL5UO4
- Set up an account in the My Impact system and fill out an application (http://bttr.im/siccq). NOTE: Remember this username and password. You will need it again if accepted into the program.
- Ask two people (friends, co-workers, fellow volunteers with other organizations, but not family members) to complete and submit a reference form for you (https://forms.gle/mJGDAN3abXD85hsv5).
- Attend the mandatory information/interview session to be held on January 23, 2024 from 1-4 PM at the Horizon Farm Credit Conference Room, 125 Prosperity Drive, Winchester, VA 22602.
- Complete the background screening (to be initiated after the information/interview session).
Course Cost, Fees, and Scholarships
- The course registration cost for the Class of 2024 is $200 payable by check or money order.
- Additional costs for the course include purchase of the Virginia Gardener Handbook (approximately $25-40 through Amazon) The course handbook also is available as a pdf online at no cost.
- The non-refundable background screening fee is $12.50 payable by check or money order.
- One $100 or two $50 needs-based scholarships are available to assist with the course registration cost. Apply online at https://forms.gle/LUiB6SfPj1TfKE6d9.
- Please note that in order to be considered, prospective class members must be prepared to pay the class registration fee ($200) and the background screening fee ($12.50), both payable by two separate checks or money orders, at the information/interview session on January 23, 2024.
- January 16, 2024
- January 23, 2024, 1-4 PM:
- Mandatory information/interview session at the Horizon Farm Credit Conference Room, 125 Prosperity Drive, Winchester, VA
- Registration ($200) and Background screening fees ($12.50) are due at that session. Both payable by separate checks or money orders.
- January 30-31, 2024
- Respond to BOTH the VCE and Stirling Volunteers emails with background screening questions.
- February 7, 2024 (or before):
- Applicants will be notified whether accepted or not accepted.
- February 20, 2024
- Class of 2024 officially begins!
If you join the VCE Master Gardener Program, you’ll meet others with similar interests, update your current knowledge, and help the community through your volunteering at education events and programs.
Becoming a Certified VCE Master Gardener Volunteer begins with a trainee course of a minimum of 50 hours of education. Training covers many topics, including landscape design, botany, pruning, pest management, soils, insects, and various types of plants. After training, trainees graduate to interns.
Interns must complete 50 hours of hands-on training during their first year by volunteering time back to the community at educational activities and programs available throughout the Valley. A variety of projects is available for students to meet their hands-on training commitment. After completion of the course and the hands-on training, students become VCE Master Gardener Volunteers, with a yearly requirement of 20 hours of volunteer service.
The cost for each year’s class is announced on the class flyer. That cost covers course materials, background screening, and a one-year membership in the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener Association.
All VCE Master Gardener Volunteers are required to complete 8 hours of yearly continuing education. This can be done through approved talks, webinars, and courses. In addition, all active VCE Master Gardener Volunteers are invited to participate in Master Gardener College, an annual advanced training program. Additional training in arboriculture to become certified Tree Stewards or in water quality to become certified Water Stewards is periodically available as well.
Tentatively, future classes will be:
- 2025 in Warren County
- 2026 as a hybrid (mix of online and in-person)
- 2027 in Shenandoah County
If you are interested in becoming certified as an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer, sign up for our email list or check back here for details. You can also contact the Virginia Cooperative Extension, Frederick office, at 540-665-5699 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Association Membership
The class includes the first year’s membership in the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener Association, or NSVMGA. The Association supports its members in the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, and Warren. NSVMGA provides additional opportunities for camaraderie, volunteering, and continuing education.
To continue membership into the following year, the annual dues as of 2021 are a modest $20 per person. Social time, business meetings, and educational sessions are held 8 – 12 times per year. Additional periodic educational offerings are sponsored by NSVMGA.