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Master Gardeners of Stearns County

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Master Gardeners of Stearns County: Become a Master Gardener

Become a Master Gardener in Stearns County!

Join Us! 

A love of gardening, a search for knowledge and a desire to share that knowledge with others is central to why people join the Master Gardener program. They remain Master Gardeners to enjoy the friendship of others who share their interests, to gain and share research-based horticultural knowledge and to give back to the community through their volunteer commitment.

If combining your passion for people and plants sounds appealing, you may be a good Master Gardener candidate. A formal education in horticulture isn't necessary--we will provide the training and resources to help you teach others. There are five steps to becoming a Master Gardener - each step is described in more detail below.


To become a University of Minnesota Master Gardener in Stearns County, you must first apply and be accepted into the program. To request an application contact the Stearns County Horticulturist at: 320-255-6169 or 1-800-450-6171; mnext-stearns@umn.edu; or mail request to "Stearns County Extension; 3400 1st St. N, Suite 103; St. Cloud, MN  56303-1924".  The application process starts early - we begin sending out applications mid-September.


You agree to volunteer service in exchange for training from the University of Minnesota. You also agree to participate in Master Gardener meetings in your county, where you receive continuing education and learn about new projects and other volunteer opportunities.


Training is held at different, rotating out-state locations around Minnesota each January and February.  These sites are decided by September the previous fall.  The training is also available as an extended online course from January-May. The course is taught by Extension faculty, and a textbook and mini-reference library are provided to each participant. For more information about the Core Course training, including times, locations, fees, and specific course content, visit the Minnesota Master Gardener page.


Following completion of Core Course Training, Master Gardener interns are required to do 50 hours of volunteer work during their internship year (which ends December 31). We make an effort to ensure that our new interns are placed with other, more seasoned volunteers and we assign a mentor to each new intern. So whether you volunteer at an "Ask a Master Gardener" event or any other event, you'll be with knowledgeable, helpful people who will make sure you're not on your own. You'll have fun--and you will learn a lot!


You'll receive a certificate and name badge designating you as a Master Gardener once you have completed the Core Course and fulfilled your internship requirements.

Remaining Certified

Once certified, Master Gardeners in Stearns County must volunteer a minimum of 25 hours and receive at least 5 hours of approved continuing education each year in order to maintain their certification.

Advanced Training

After you are certified, you are eligible to attend other training programs and workshops. These courses offer more technical information. Advanced training opportunities include:

  • Tree Care Advisor
  • Pesticide Applicator
  • Plant Healthcare Advisors
  • Household Insects
  • Shoreline Restoration
  • Special one-time classes