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Master Gardeners enhance Colorado communities through outreach, education and environmental stewardship.

Become a Colorado State Extension Master Gardener   arrow

Growing Plants. Growing People.

The Colorado State Extension Master Gardener program is a unique intersection between University Horticulture expertise and community volunteers interested in educating locally.

Who are Colorado Master Gardeners?

We’re hands-on in educational school gardens, we’re helping grow food for local communities, and we’re passionate about pollinators. Some of us are tree-huggers, most of us are plant (and insect) lovers.

We all get that gardening here takes grit. Which is why we’re providing local expertise for Colorado’s diverse plants and people. We are Colorado State Extension Master Gardeners. Powered by Colorado State University.


Click on each step below to learn more.

STEP 1: Learn about our program

We’re looking for volunteers interested in education and outreach using research-based horticulture information. As an Extension Master Gardener, you’ll be a CSU Extension volunteer giving back in your local community.

>> Check out our Mission & Vision, History & Annual Reports.

Newly accepted volunteers begin as Apprentices. This means you’re in-training to become a Extension Master Gardener. We provide 60 hours of core training that occur through hybrid instruction: online, live webinars (also recorded) and in-person when possible.

Following training, apprentices are encouraged to engage in local projects which vary widely. We require a 50-hour volunteer commitment your first year. There is a two-year Apprentice option that allows 60-hours to be completed over 2 years.

If you’re simply interested in hobby gardening (hey, we love it too!), we have other great avenues for you to consider including:

  • Certified Colorado Gardener Program (known as “Green School”) which allows you to experience the Master Gardener courses – either as a full course (14 classes) or a bundled short course (5 classes organized around a theme). It’s a Colorado-specific horticulture training without the volunteer commitment.
  • Online Gardening Classes offered exclusively through CSU Online where you can earn a digital badge as a Certified Gardener or simply take one of 17 self-paced courses without an ongoing training commitment.

STEP 2: Find a program near you

Check out the counties currently offering the Master Gardener program. You’re encouraged to connect with a program in the county where you live and apply online when applications are open.

If you’re moving here from another state where you served as an Extension Master Gardener, we welcome you to our program but do require that you complete our application process and training. Colorado can be a tough place to garden – we think you’ll appreciate the education you receive through our Colorado-specific training.

STEP 3: Apply to become an Extension Master Gardener Apprentice

If you’ve decided you’re interested in plant education and outreach and you’d like to volunteer in your local community then it’s time to apply! Follow these steps:

  1. Check with your local county to see if they have a program (if they are on the list, they are accepting applications).
  2. Read our Colorado Master Gardener application information
  3. Apply online between August 1 – 30, 2024 (subject to change annually)

STEP 4: Complete training courses

Regardless of your location, all Colorado State Extension Master Gardeners (CMGs) receive in-depth horticulture training provided by University faculty, staff, and specialists. Training is critical to ensure that all volunteers have access to the information necessary to support our mission.

Our initial training offers flexible, remote and hybrid training options. This includes self-paced online courses and live weekly webinar Q&A sessions with subject matter experts from CSU. Combined with optional in-person activities and hands-on labs (varies by local county programs), you’ll have the flexibility to learn at home and practice with fellow volunteers.


2023-2024 TRAINING SCHEDULE (’24-’25 coming soon)

Courses are specific to Colorado’s climate, soil, environment, insects, wildlife, and plants. Training is a big commitment and includes reading (online, no text required), homework, in-class activities and lectures.

Green School training registration will open in August, please do NOT REGISTER for Green School if you’re applying to become a CMG! We’ll email you a link if accepted into the program. If you are not accepted and still want to completed Green School, we’ll send you a link for the early-bird registration rate in October.

Want to know more? See the Green School Training information page

STEP 5: Engage in local projects

The Extension Master Gardener Volunteer’s audience is exclusively home gardeners. Including landscape plants, turfgrass, and trees as well as house plants, vegetable gardens and greenhouses.

Types of volunteer service can include answering phone calls and emails at county Extension offices, staffing diagnostic clinics, teaching gardening classes, writing newspaper and website articles and mentoring community gardening and greening projects.

STEP 6: Report & Renew annually

Colorado State Extension Master Gardeners are active across the state and their impacts are impressive. We have a user-friendly reporting system so that logging hours, reporting outreach and signing up for projects is simple. We’re required to report our efforts locally and to the state annually – we want to show off the good work our volunteers are doing!

After we’ve put our outdoor gardens to bed, we start our annual renewal process for all Master Gardeners. Continuing CMGs must contribute at least 24 hours of volunteer service annually and complete 12 continuing education hours (often provided by CSU in your local county or online). CMGs in good standing complete renewal paperwork and contribute annual dues (typically less than $35) to recommit for the upcoming year.

Available to All

Colorado State University Extension is an equal opportunity provider. | Colorado State University Extension es un proveedor que ofrece igualdad de oportunidades.

Colorado State University does not discriminate on the basis of disability and is committed to providing reasonable accommodations. | Colorado State University no discrimina por motivos de discapacidad y se compromete a proporcionar adaptaciones razonables.

CSU’s Office of Engagement and Extension ensures meaningful access and equal opportunities to participate to individuals whose first language is not English. | Office of Engagement and Extension de CSU garantiza acceso significativo e igualdad de oportunidades para participar a las personas quienes su primer idioma no es el inglés.

We are an equal access and equal opportunity University. Learn more: