UC Master Gardeners are residents of California--in our case, residents of Santa Barbara County--who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and help others, and able to communicate with diverse groups of people.
Previous gardening experience and/or education is common, although it's not a prerequisite. Applicants are selected based on their familiarity with the time commitment asked of UC Master Gardeners, for their interest in learning about scientifically verified methods for gardening in diverse growing conditions, and for their interest in helping home gardeners from Santa Barbara County by sharing research-based "advice to grow by".
Classes are taught by University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Advisors and other horticulture specialists. The program offers an intensive, practical course in plant science and horticulture.
- Introduction to horticulture
- Soil health and plant nutrition
- Integrated Pest Management (pests and diseases, and their control)
- Plant management
- Diagnosis of plant problems
- Irrigation best practices
Training takes place over several months (January through May) and is adapted to local needs and the local environment.
Certification: Certified Master Gardeners have participated in the training program and passed an exam based on the material presented.
Commitment: In exchange for training, certified UC Master Gardeners commit to volunteering some time each year to the Santa Barbara County Cooperative Extension program and our community.
- First-year volunteers donate 50 hours to approved program activities.
- More advanced volunteers provide 25 volunteer hours and devote 12 hours to Continuing Education each program year.
Ongoing educational programs, such as seminars, training sessions, field trips, and garden tours are offered on a regular basis to help Master Gardeners fulfill their required educational credits.
Under the supervision of the UCCE Horticulture Advisor and the Program Coordinator, the UC Master Gardeners of Santa Barbara County serve the community in diverse ways:
- Answering home gardening questions by email or phone through our Helpline
- Demonstrations at local gardens
- School gardening programs
- Public seminars and educational programs
- Informational booths at Farmers Markets and other community events
- Writing articles and sharing "advice to grow by" in newsletters and on social media
- Creating online educational material
Master Gardeners receive volunteer credit for time spent participating in approved activities. Through their involvement in these programs, UC Master Gardeners provide education and service to the community and continuing horticulture enrichment for members.
- UC Master Gardeners are educational agents of the University of California Cooperative Extension and as such are covered by University-provided liability insurance.
- Candidates selected for Master Gardener training are required to successfully complete a DOJ background screening process that includes fingerprinting at their own cost.
- Master Gardeners must follow the research and recommendations of the University of California Cooperative Extension. We do not endorse products or services on behalf of UC.
- The title Master Gardener can only be used by those who are serving as agents of the University of California and not for personal gain or advancement. However, the title and certification may be used on resumes or applications as a valid credential.
Please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.