Are you looking for a way to improve your community through volunteer service?  Do you have an interest in horticulture?  Do you enjoy sharing your knowledge?  If the answer to all of these questions is yes, being a Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener may be right for you.

Applications that can be found online are now being accepted for the New River Valley Master Gardener training program and are  due by Dec. 19. Applicants must be able to attend a 60-hour training course and complete 50 hours of volunteer service with Virginia Cooperative Extension during their first year. 

The cost for the 60-hour course is $150, which covers the "Virginia Master Gardener Handbook" textbook and other training materials.

The training course will be held from March to May on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1– 4 p.m. at the Hahn Horticulture Pavilion at Virginia Tech. Students will get an equivalent of three college credits worth of knowledge from classes taught by Virginia Tech professors and Virginia Cooperative Extension agents.  

The course provides a thorough understanding of all areas in horticulture and includes the following topics: botany, entomology, indoor foliage, annuals, perennials, risk management, trees and shrubs, abiotic plant stress, fruits, plant pathology, urban forestry and pruning, landscape design propagation, vegetables, pesticide use and safety, and water quality.

Upon completion of the course, students will be considered interns and will begin a 50-hour internship designed to provide practical hands-on learning under guidance of experienced Extension Master Gardeners.

There are many on-going Master Gardener projects in the New River Valley that help others learn and use sustainable gardening and landscape practices, teach youth gardening skills, provide food for those in need while teaching them how to grow their own, assist community members through horticultural therapy, and more. Master gardening is a fantastic way to volunteer. The skills you learn during the Extension Master Gardener Training Course will help you not only in your own gardens but when assisting others as well.  We hope you will consider joining this exciting, fun, and educational group of people who don’t mind getting their hands dirty to support the community!

Contact the New River Valley Master Gardener Coordinator Deanna Reid at the Montgomery County Extension Office at or 540-382-5790 for more information or to obtain an application.