The New Jersey Rutgers Master Gardener Program, founded in 1972, now serves as volunteer arm of the University Extension programs in more than 40 states. Rutgers Master Gardeners are required to pursue a year of intensive study of botany, entomology, plant diseases, landscaping, and environmentally sound methods of horticulture.
Following state certification, Rutgers Master Gardeners perform community service. Programs include a helpline for gardeners, lectures for community groups, and advice and assistance to schools, to bring an understanding of the interrelationships of nature to our lives.
Rutgers Master Gardeners use their skills in a variety of areas, including:
- Gardening demonstrations
- Telephone Helpline and Plant Clinics
- Horticultural therapy
- Information booths at county fairs and other public events
- Research assistance at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
- Harvesting and packing food for the hungry
Rutgers Master Gardeners receive in-depth, hands-ontraining in horticulture from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey faculty and professional staff.
Some basic topics include plant biology, propagation, soil science, and disease and pest control. There is a fee to cover material and program costs. (Scholarships are available.)
In exchange for the training, Rutgers Master Gardeners agree to volunteer a certain number of hours, working in their community in programs sponsored by the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES). Successful graduates of the training become Certified Rutgers Master Gardeners after they complete their volunteer service.