top of page

Union County Extension Master Gardener

Volunteer Association UCEMGVA

About Us


The Union County Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer Association (UCEMGVA) has a primary goal: to provide gardening information to the public in Union County, NC and the surrounding area.


We are a volunteer organization that is part of the NC State Cooperative Extension program and we have been serving our community since 1989. Our mission is to foster partnerships that create sustainable communities through education and implementation. In other words, we like to help and teach our community about good gardening practices, composting, integrated pest management, and homegrown food production, just to name a few. Our home base is the Union County Agricultural and Conference Center in Monroe, NC, where we maintain our Teaching Gardens, Greenhouse, Heritage Trail and the location of our annual Heritage Festival.



We are actively involved in the community providing educational community programs and services like:

  • Ask a Master Gardener Informational and educational booths hosted at the Master Gardener's Teaching Garden, local Farmers Markets and other community events.

  • Successful Gardener educational programs on various gardening and horticulture topics held at 7pm on the first Thursday of each month at the Union County Agriculture & Conference Center or via Webex.

  • Our Growline allows you to ask us gardening and horticulture questions! We are happy to help. We will research your questions and provide an educated, science-based answer. Call 704-283-3822 or email Growline.

  • Three annual plant sales: Tree Sale (February), Spring Plant Sale (April), and Fall Bulb and Plant Sale (October). All sales events are open to the public. Proceeds from sales support our educational programs.

  • Let’s Get Growing! Saturday morning radio show on WIXE hosted by UCEMGV.

  • Teaching Gardens: Find our gardens at 3230 Presson Road, Monroe NC. The Cottage Garden is full of pollinators, the Woodland Garden is the first to bloom and cool in Summer, The Heritage Trail connects you to the Carolina Thread Trail and the Children's Garden is full of fun for kids of all ages. Join us for Weeding Wednesdays

  • Speakers Bureau programs and presentations to community organizations and schools provided by Master Gardener Volunteers.

  • The Union County Heritage Festival is organized and hosted by UCEMGV on the 3rd Saturday in September. This fun, free, family-friendly event aims to educate the people of Union County about our natural, cultural, and historical heritage.

  • Wild Turkey 5K Trail Run and Walk Held in conjunction with the Heritage Festival to inspire a healthy lifestyle and encourage engagement with nature.

  • Our volunteers participate at local farmers markets in Monroe and Waxhaw offering educational displays and information, answering gardening questions, and activities for children.

  • We Garden Union County is a monthly newsletter with timely articles and gardening tips, including information on upcoming Successful Gardener programs, plant sales, and other events offered for the public. Subscribe here.

  • Scholarships: To encourage budding future farmers, we annually award 4H scholarships and a UCEMGVA Scholarship to a senior graduating from a Union County School and attending a NC college to major in botany, crop sciences, environmental studies, horticulture, animal husbandry, forestry or related fields.

  • UCEMGVA Website: Find upcoming events and loads of gardening information and resources to help you become a better gardener! But you know all about our website...because you are here right now!


We would love to have you join us as a Certified NC Extension Master Gardener Volunteer! The training is thorough and professionally implemented. No prior training or formal education in the field is required. Learn more here.

How to Become a NC Extension Master Gardener℠

Volunteer in Union County

NC Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program

Become an MG

NC Extension Master Gardener℠ volunteers of Union County work with NC State Extension to provide gardeners with unbiased, science-based information on sustainable gardening, lawn, and landscape practices. Under the guidance of NC Cooperative Extension agents, volunteers complete an intensive (but fun), hands-on training program, pass an examination, and complete a 50-hour internship with NC Cooperative Extension in Union County. Annual volunteer hours are required to maintain certification.


To help you decide if you should apply to become an Extension Master Gardener volunteer of Union County, consider these questions:

  • Do I want to learn more about growing many types of plants?

  • Am I eager to participate in a practical and intense training program?

  • Do I look forward to sharing my knowledge with people in my community?

  • Do I have enough time to attend training sessions and to serve as a volunteer?


No previous training is necessary to become an Extension Master Gardener volunteer of Union County, just a passion for gardening and a desire to volunteer in your community. Benefits of serving as an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer of Union County include:

  • Learn from outstanding horticulture experts

  • Become knowledgeable and skilled in a variety of gardening subjects

  • Teach others about sustainable gardening, lawns, and landscapes

  • Help gardeners solve problems

  • Learn how to identify and diagnose common diseases and insects

  • Work with others who share your interests

  • Continue to learn through workshops, field trips, conferences, and hands-on training and webinars

  • Lead environmental education efforts in schools and neighborhoods

  • Transform yards, people and communities

  • Behind the scenes Festival and 5K Planning

  • Leadership opportunities


About the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program:

The Master Gardener training program involves attending classes, for approximately 10 weeks, one morning per week, from approximately 9am to 1pm. Classes are held once a year and taught by Extension staff, local experts, and Extension Master Gardener Volunteers. There are only 35 openings per session. Topics include: annuals; perennials; fruits; vegetables; lawns; shrubs; trees; insects; diseases; weeds; soils; plant nutrition; and water conservation. A training manual is included in the tuition fee. Trainees must complete the classroom instruction, pass the exam and have hands-on training by the end of the training period.


Once you have successfully completed the training program:

Volunteers are required to complete a 50-hour internship within one year of completing their training. Trainees are encouraged to begin volunteering during the training course. After completion of the 50-hour internship, anyone wishing to remain active in the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program will complete 30 hours of volunteer service and 10 hours of continuing education each year.


Continued Education & Sponsored Events:

Union County Extension Master Gardeners have a wide range of opportunities to volunteer and continue their education through:

  • Monthly Education Meetings

  • Monthly Successful Gardener Classes

  • Online lectures and Webinars

  • Assisting in our Teaching Gardens

  • Volunteering throughout the Community and in Schools

  • Summer 4-H Camp

  • Annual Sales Events: Tree Sale, Spring Plant Sale, Fall Bulb & Plant Sale

  • Monthly Volunteer Hosted Luncheons with Educational Events

  • Heritage Festival - Hosted Annually


Each Extension Master Gardener Program is tailored to the needs of the county in which it is located. Volunteers serve the community by sharing their interest and knowledge in gardening. ​If you are interested in gardening, have a desire to share your time and knowledge in the community, you are probably a great candidate for the Master Gardener program!  



Frequently Asked Questions

Extension Master Gardener Training Schedule 2023

Fill out the Application--2023

For questions about becoming an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer, please contact:

Debbie Dillion
Extension Agent - Agriculture/Horticulture

Union County Center
3230-D Presson Road
Monroe, NC 28112
(704) 283-3729

NC State University and N.C. A&T State University are collectively committed to positive action to secure equal opportunity and prohibit discrimination and harassment regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, political beliefs, family and marital status, sex, age, veteran status, sexual identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, or disability. NC State, N.C. A&T, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.

bottom of page