Pima County Master Gardener Extension Volunteers are university-trained volunteers who serve as community educators. They work with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension to provide research-based information on environmentally responsible gardening and landscaping to the public.
Services to County residents include:
- Free Plant Clinics to answer plant and gardening questions by phone, walk-in or online
- Presentations and Classes on gardening, landscaping, and water use
- Information Booths at various farmers markets and community events
- Bi-Annual Plant Sales - next one is Saturday, April 8, 2017, 8am-11am
- Annual Home Garden Tour – demonstrating the home gardens of Master Gardener Extension Volunteers and conducting appropriate garden topic lectures/demonstrations at those homes
- Public Demonstration Gardens – maintaining grounds and leading free tours led by Master Gardeners
- Technical Assistance to educational organizations and institutions
- Community Outreach such as maintaining gardens at Tumacacori National Historical Park; working with Juvenile Court Gardens and Garden Kitchen, etc.
There are currently approximately 180 active Master Gardener Extension Volunteers here in Pima County.
One of the many functions of Pima County Master Gardener Extension Volunteers is to staff the Plant Clinic. They answer landscape and gardening questions over the phone or examine plant samples brought into the clinics.
Persons qualify to become Master Gardener Extension Volunteers by completing a 50-hour training course and giving 50 hours of service to one or more of the approved Master Gardener Projects. Classes are conducted in Tucson. Following the course, graduates enter an intern period for up to one year during which the initial minimum 50 hours volunteer service is given (including 30 hours working at the Demonstration Gardens, 20 hours in the Plant Clinic, and helping with one library garden talk). When the internship has been completed the intern receives full Master Gardener Extension Volunteer status.
Each year after that, to maintain Master Gardener Extension Volunteer status, a volunteer must participate in at least 50 hours of approved service activities and complete 10 hours of continuing training annually.
Master Gardener Extension Volunteers also present landscape and gardening programs throughout the city. Demonstrations and "Ask a Master Gardener" sessions are held from October through April at various public libraries. Master Gardener Extension Volunteers are also guest speakers at civic groups, help with community gardens, and lead a wide variety of gardening-related educational programs.
Applications for the 2017 fall class open January 3, 2017. Classes will be held Tuesday mornings from 9-noon, August 8 through December 5, 2017. The deadline for submitting applications is April 14, 2017. Those selected for an interview will be scheduled for appointment May 1-10, 2017.
For more information contact the Pima County Cooperative Extension Center in Tucson at 520-626-5161, or the Pima County Cooperative Extension Satellite Office in Green Valley at 520-648-0808.