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Georgia Master Gardener
Advanced Training Program for MGEVs MGEV advanced training graphic small

Once the initial Master Gardener training is complete, individuals often jump in with both feet to the volunteer portion of the Master Gardener experience. The next thing they know, they are receiving a volunteer service recognition at the 10-year mark! Along the way, the Master Gardener realizes that he or she needs to know more about this or that, or needs particular training in how to bring about this or that. Some volunteers just want to do more or learn more, while others like to be recognized for their knowledge.

AdvancedTraining ActivityThe Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program, through the State Program Office (SPO) continually strives to meet its basic goal of training volunteers at all levels to assist UGA Extension. In Georgia, Advanced Training for Master Gardener Extension Volunteers helps meet those needs. Advanced Training is horticultural and related training for current, active Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteers who go above and beyond the initial 40-hour, core horticulture training. To be eligible for Advanced Training, MGEVs must have completed the initial training and 50-hour volunteer service requirement, and have current, active status (including UGA Volunteer Agreement on file and any additionally required screening). In some cases, Extension approval is required.

We recognize that along your MGEV journey, you may want to learn more about some topics, become a recognized expert in a given area, mark your learning process with classes and workshops, or implement specific types of programs within the community. Our Advanced Training program offers day-long intensive training sessions in specific topics that fall under five categories of training, including:

Advanced Training Category:
Category Description:
Examples of Trainings Offered:
Sustainable Gardens and Landscapes (SGL)

investigation of gardening techniques, methods, and crops for the consumer/residential gardener. Topics include organic gardening practices, plant expert series, vegetable gardening, and selection and use of ornamental plants

  • Sustainability in the Garden: Understanding the Spectrum of Conventional and Organic Approaches
  • Secrets of Turf Success
  • Woody Plant Identification
  • Teaching with Demonstration Gardens
Water Quality and Management (WQM) investigation of the impact of gardening and landscaping techniques and methods on water quality and management. Topics include fertilizer applications, septic system management, rain gardens, water-wise landscaping, etc.
  • Backyard Watersheds: Rain Gardens at Work
  • Cleanscapes: Landscapes, Septic Systems, and You
  • Water-wise Landscapes
Urban Forestry and Ecology (UFE) study of the urban forest and related ecology. Topics include tree selection, cultural issues, urban tree issues, plant protection, etc.
  • Urban Trees
  • Native Trees
Diagnostics and Technology (DT) in-depth study of factors affecting plant growth and development, such as diseases, insects and cultural phenomenon, and the use of technology to identify and find solutions to these factors
  • Diagnosing Ornamental Problems: From the Landscape to the Lab
  • Vegetable Diagnostics
Youth and Community Gardening (YCG) study of gardening with special populations, including youth, elderly, disabled, and at-risk. Topics include gardening methods, project management, MGEV leadership for community vegetable gardens, adaptive tools, and demonstration gardens
  • Get Kids Gardening!
  • Kids in Bloom
  • From Dreams to Reality: Putting “Community” in Community Gardens
Required (R) training in teaching techniques, leadership, or communication that provides support to MGEV projects. Topics include creative teaching techniques, making great presentations, financial resources development and management, etc.
  • Creative Teaching Techniques
  • Making a Great Presentation
  • Leadership


MGEVs can participate in as many Advanced Training sessions as they desire. Georgia'smicroscope practice for MGEVs Advanced Training program is flexible to fit the MGEV and the local Extension program. A MGEV can take as many or as few of the trainings as he/she wants to and continue to increase personal knowledge and skill. Or, the MGEV can work toward additional training recognition, such as through the Star program. The Star Program includes two levels of recognition, Silver Star and Gold Star, for volunteers who meet specific Advanced Training criteria. There is a five year window for completing a star, so Advanced Training courses taken with the intent to gain a star should be completed within five years.

Silver Star Level

This is a generalist-level recognition for those volunteers who have completed Advanced Training in a variety of subjects.


  • Successfully complete 4 elective sessions (1 session or certificate is 6 hours of class time)
  • Successfully complete 1 required session: Creative Teaching Techniques, Leadership: Building a Dynamic MG Network, etc.


Gold Star Level

The Gold Star is specialist-level recognition. Participants choose one category or subject area and concentrate study in this area. The educational project that demonstrates application of learning is a key component of Gold Start recognition. Suggested projects include teaching a series of classes, preparing lesson plans, writing fact sheets, and preparing multimedia presentations. Project approval is required before and after project completion by County Extension Office. MGEVs who earn the Gold Star agree to be a resource to the local Extension office for the chosen specialty subject area. NOTE: Silver Star is NOT required prior to earning a Gold Star.


  • Select one specialty area and successfully complete 3 sessions within specialty subject area
  • Successfully complete 2 elective sessions from any other subject area
  • Successfully complete 1 required (R) session
  • Successfully complete volunteer project (related to specialty subject area), including submission of a project package application to County Extension Agent with copy to State Program Office (SPO)
  • Gold Star Application Package(pdf)


Advanced Training General Guidelines

  • Advanced Training topics are chosen from existing approved training criteria to plan a day of training.
  • The SPO office approves new training criteria as it is proposed and developed.
  • Pre and post evaluations will measure impact and ensure quality of training. Certificates and pins will be issued when all requirements are fulfilled.
  • Training fees/costs range from $30.00 to $50.00 per participant per session and are calculated to cover all expenses.
  • Training sites are available throughout the state.

What do Master Gardeners have to do?

  • Maintain active statusMGEVs working together during training
  • Make a commitment to volunteer 25 hours annually during and upon completion of Advanced Training
  • Record and report volunteer hours in MGLOG
  • Participants are asked to review the READING LIST prior to training to be prepared for discussions and activities
  • Demonstrate mastery of the course objectives of each session
  • Successfully complete required sessions
  • Complete project and paperwork and paperwork for Stars
  • Agree to serve as a resource for County Extension
  • Individual training certificates earned will be valid toward gold or silver star recognition for a period of 5 years from training date

Be sure to mark your calendars for this year's Advanced Training opportunities! View the current training schedule.