Frequently Asked Questions: Becoming a Master Gardener
Questions that you may have and answers that we can provide!
- The training classes begins October 6th, 2016.
- Deadline for submitting an application for the 2016 Fall Training Class is September 23th, 2016 before 5:00 p.m.
- Please read the Q&A below carefully before completing the application, which can be found at the bottom of the Q&A.
1. Who are the Texas Master Gardeners and what is the basis of this program?
A. First and foremost, the Master Gardener program is sponsored solely by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service (“Extension”) which is part of the Texas A & M University System. Additionally, Extension works cooperatively with the Commissioners’ Court, and with the Texas A&M University in Prairie View.
Master Gardeners are volunteers who assist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in carrying out educational programs and activities that address horticultural issues of concern with county residents.
The Texas Master Gardener program is a “certification” course. Applicants must attend all classes, and complete 50 hours of volunteer time. Once a Master Gardener, not always a Master Gardener. Fort Bend County Master Gardeners must maintain their certification by completing 12 hours of Advanced Training, and 24 hours of volunteer time each year.
2. When are the Master Gardener classes held?
A. We currently have one session, which is a daytime class on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. It is 5 weeks in duration with classes being conducted twice a week.
3. Where are classes held?
A. Classes are conducted at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office; 1402 Band Road, Suite 100, Rosenberg, TX 77471. Our campus consists of three buildings with the fall class being held in our “Extension Education Center.” Each class session is given a map of the grounds with the location of class.
4. What is the registration fee, and what does it cover?
A. The fee for the course is $200 per individual, or $353 for two people if a manual is shared. Each participant (or two people) receives the Texas Master Gardener Handbook published by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. This is an excellent reference and study guide. Additionally, registration fees also cover graduation dinner, engraved name badge, class refreshments, and helps defray speakers’ fees and travel expenses.
5. What is the deadline for submitting applications?
A. Friday, September 23, 2016, is the deadline for submitting applications for the Fall 2016 Class. Class size is limited to 25 participants. We have been receiving numerous queries about the Fall class; therefore, if you plan to apply, it is very important that you submit your application, with payment, as soon as possible.
You may call the Master Gardener Program Coordinator (281-633-7033) or email (email@example.com) for an application packet, or you can download the application packet from the Master Gardener website at www.fbmg.org.
All Fort Bend County residents are eligible to apply. Applicants are also welcome along the borders of Waller & Fort Bend Counties, Harris & Fort Bend Counties, and Brazoria & Fort Bend Counties. All Residents in Wharton County are also welcome to apply.
6. How are applicants selected for the course?
A. There are several factors considered in the selection of applicants. One very obvious feature is a serious interest in horticultural activities including, but not limited to, gardening – a definite requirement. A college education is not required. You will find, however, that Fort Bend County Master Gardener participants and members have very diverse backgrounds.
Another factor is the availability to attend all training classes – actually it’s a requirement. Furthermore, you must be able to complete all of the volunteer hours (50 hours) within 7-8 months prior to graduation.
The most important factor is your willingness to share your knowledge with others.
Once your application is received, you will be asked to come into the office for a brief meeting with the Horticulture Agent, Master Gardener Program Coordinator, and a few members of the organization. We will share the important aspects of the Master Gardener program, what it entails, how the program works, and we will give you a tour of the demonstration gardens. We will also be able to answer any questions you may have.
It must be noted, however, that all volunteer hours are completed in Fort Bend County.
7. How will I be contacted in regard to the status of my application?
A. You will be contacted by the Master Gardener Program Coordinator or by the Horticulture Agent via email provided on your application. This email will give you further details about class.
8. What are some of the class topics and who teaches the class?
A. The classes cover Soils, Botany, Vegetables, Pathology (Diseases), Entomology (Insects), Water Conservation/Rainwater Harvesting, Landscape Design, Propagation, Turf Grass, Fruit & Nuts, Trees, and Earth-Kind Practices. Additional classes are Junior Master Gardener, Hotline & Research, and Compost Trainings.
Many of the classes are taught by Extension Specialists from College Station, others are taught by local experts, albeit from Texas A&M University, while other classes are taught by Master Gardener specialists.
9. Are there tests?
A. There are 8 tests; there are 8 chapters in your manual. They will be emailed to you prior to that particular subject or given to you during class. These are “open book” tests, and must be handed in the evening of that scheduled class topic.
You will also be taking a pre/post test which is not an open book test. This test is used to determine how well we are teaching you! Your grade is not a reflection of you, your graduation, or how long you can be a master gardener – it is used as a benchmark providing us with information on what we may need to modify in order to better serve you.
10. After graduation, then what?
A. Remember, being a Master Gardener is a constant learning process, and you are not expected to know everything. With that said, you will be able to assist the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office with these skills as a Master Gardener:
- Answer client’s telephone inquiries and assist office visitors with plant/insect samples for identification or diagnosis;
- Assist with establishing and maintaining demonstration gardens at the Extension office;
- Assist with Junior Master Gardener projects and school or club gardening education projects;
- Interpret information from Extension publications for general public;
- Distribute Extension information to the public at Home & Garden Shows, County Fair, and various community events throughout the county;
- Assist with Extension educational programming, Master Gardener Speakers Bureau, such as talks for garden clubs, Master Gardener workshops, etc.
- Create educational research-based publications, PowerPoint programs, news articles, etc.
Ready to Apply?
Please print out the full application form. The instructions for completing the application are included in the downloaded file. Please read the instructions completely.
The training classes begins October 6th, 2016.
Deadline for submitting an application for the 2016 Fall Training Class is September 23rd, 2016 before 5:00 p.m.
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