Become an Extension Master Gardener

Do you enjoy gardening? Appreciate the environment? Enjoy helping others?

Consider joining the local class session for the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) Master Gardener Program!

Classes generally meet twice per week from mid-February through mid-May and alternate around the five counties in the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener unit (Clarke, Frederick, Warren, Page, and Shenandoah). The 2019 class is in Warren County (Front Royal).  See our flyer for more information or download an application  for the 2019 class. (Classroom space is limited. Completing an application does not guarantee acceptance into the Master Gardener program.)

You can also sign up for our email list, and you’ll receive an email in early fall about the next class.

More about the VCE Master Gardener Program

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 classroom 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 also complete 50 hours of hands-on training during their first year by volunteering 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 and the hands-on training, students become VCE Master Gardener Volunteerswith a yearly requirement of 20 hours of hands-on volunteering.

The cost for each year is announced on the class flyer. That cost covers training materials, supplies, speakers, a VCE Master Gardener Handbook, a VCE Pest Management Guide, and a one year membership in the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener Association.

Continuing Education

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. The 2019 Master Gardener College is September 19 – 22 in Norfolk. Additional training in arboriculture to become certified Tree Stewards or in water quality to become certified Water Stewards is available as well.


If you are interested in becoming certified as an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer or you have further questions, download an informational flyer or class application. You can also contact the Virginia Cooperative Extension, Frederick office, at 540-665-5699 or via email to

More about Association Membership

The class cost 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 Counties. NSVMGA provides additional opportunities for camaraderie, volunteering, and continuing education.

To continue membership into the following year, the annual dues are a modest $20 per person or $25 per couple. Social time, business meetings, and educational sessions are held monthly. Additional periodic educational offerings are sponsored by NSVMGA.