About the Extension Master Gardener (EMG) Program

Master Gardeners at Lincoln City Mission gardenEMGs are people - experienced gardeners and beginners - who love plants and enjoy sharing their knowledge with others.

At Nebraska Extension, we teach adults and youth about plants, gardening, and the environment in many different settings, including: client phone calls, county fair, schools, community events and demonstration landscapes. And our EMG volunteers help us do that.

The Extension Master Gardener program’s goal is to provide Nebraskans with the knowledge they need to create and maintain bountiful, healthy, sustainable gardens and landscapes, all while protecting the environment and water resources.

Why get involved in the Extension Master Gardener program? First, because you love gardening. Each Master Gardener has their own special area of interest; a particular type of gardening or type of plant that they love to grow, whether it is roses, herbs, water plants, wildflowers, fruit trees or vegetables. Through the program, you will meet many great people who share your love of gardening and are always happy to share knowledge with you. And as a volunteer, you'll be making a contribution to your community, creating beautiful, sustainable greenspaces.

Volunteer Opportunities
In exchange for 40 hours of training, Master Gardener interns are required to volunteer 40 hours of their time to Nebraska Extension programs and activities. Some of these opportunities include:

  • Assist with 4-H horticulture and other youth programs.
  • Present or assist with educational programs to adults or community groups.
  • Answer telephone and/or email gardening questions.
  • Staff garden festivals, clinics or garden shows.
  • Help establish and maintain community beautification projects.
  • Become a resource to your neighborhood or community.

Become a Master Gardener - Start Here

There are two active EMGs programs for those in the Lincoln area - the Lancaster County and East Campus programs. The programs are very similar with each offering initial training using hybrid virtual and in-person sessions. Lancaster County program in-person sessions are held during the day, while the East Campus program in-person sessions are held at night.

The application period for the 2022 Lancaster County Master Gardener Program has closed. We will begin taking applications for the 2023 program later this summer.

Lancaster County Program

Encompasses gardeners primarily from Cass, Lancaster, Otoe, Seward and York counties.

Program structure:

  • 40 hours of training required for interns, followed by 40 hours of volunteer service.
  • Self-paced online training for new interns, plus
  • Weekday, daytime in-person sessions for interns and veteran EMGs.
  • Program cost - $225.00 (non-refundable) 
  • Scholarships are available if financial assistance is needed.  
  • Application deadline - January 13, 2023

2023 Program Guidelines (9/2022)

Apply

East Campus Program

Encompasses gardeners from Lancaster county.

Program Structure:

  • 40 hours of training required for interns, followed by 40 hours of volunteer service.
  • Self-paced online training for new interns, plus
  • Weekday, evening in-person sessions for interns and veteran EMGs.  
  • Program cost - $225.00 (non-refundable)
  • Scholarships are available if financial assistance is needed. 
Apply

What if I don't live in Cass, Lancaster, Otoe, Seward or York County?

Many Extension offices across Nebraska have similar programs. Outside Nebraska, contact your local Extension Office to find a program near you.