The following FAQ is for local members of the Rock Prairie Association. General Master Gardener Volunteer information can be found at the state website.
Volunteer hours: How do I get them, and also, why?
Certified Master Gardener Volunteers are required to complete 24-hours of service every year. Many opportunities exist in Rock County to obtain volunteer hours, such as working with school gardens and assisting educational efforts at the Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, WI. The purpose of the University of Wisconsin Cooperative-Extension Master Gardener Program is to provide horticultural information specific to local climates, soils and plants, and training to the gardening public, based on University of Wisconsin and other research institutions. Volunteer hours achieve this purpose!
Continuing Education hours: How do I get them and also, why?
Certification as a Master Gardener Volunteer is limited to one year, renewable every year. In order to renew, active Master Gardener Volunteers are required to obtain 10 hours of continuing education each year. Continuing education requirements ensure a Master Gardener Volunteer is able to provide the public the latest information. Current opportunities are shared on the Rock County Master Gardener listserve, and in the monthly newsletter.
Can I do classes for Continuing Education at other places than Extension?
Yes, Master Gardener Volunteers can obtain continuing education classes outside of extension! Make sure that classes provide true gardening information and will add to your bank of knowledge. Additionally, approved continuing education opportunities will be sent to you via the listserve and in the monthly newsletter.
Is my travel time counted with my hours?
Travel time is only counted for volunteer hours, and not for continuing education. For trips, tours and potlucks, only the pure education or volunteer time is counted – not meals and socializing!
Do I need to report my hours on a regular basis?
You are required to report your hours annually. The deadline for reporting all of your volunteer work and continuing education in Rock County is September 30.
After I complete my hours (volunteer and continuing ed) requirements, should I still turn in hours?
Please turn in all of your hours completed. The total number of hours is important for reports to local and state financial supporters and administration.
Can I carry over extra hours from one year to the next?
The association’s year runs from October 1 to September 30 of the following year. Hours may not be carried from year to year.
May interns attend continuing education classes/trips? Should those hours be reported?
Interns are welcome and encouraged to take advantage of all continuing education classes and field trips. Time should be turned in as continuing education on your report of hours. Interns should report continuing education above and beyond General training.
What if my life has changed and I can’t make my assignment?
If for any reason you can not fulfill a requirement for the MG program, please contact the UW-Extension office to discuss. Flexibility is possible.
I’ve done this assignment for a few years, any problem switching to something new?
Switching assignments is not a problem! In fact, it will widen your knowledge and experience if you do change. You will probably meet new people, too!
Ok, the summer is over and I still don’t have enough hours. What do I do?
There are several committees that meet and are most active during the fall and winter. Choose one or two of these and look for continuing education classes and opportunities during this time as well. Pace yourself so that you can attain a certain number of hours per week/month.
Who should I call if I have questions or problems making my hours?
Call or contact the UW-Extension office.
Should I wear my name badge?
Wearing the official University of Wisconsin Extension name badge identifies you as a representative while conducting and serving in programs as a Master Gardener. When you are with other Master Gardeners, it provides easy identification and facilitates getting to know one another. At the beginning of every calendar year, dated stickers for your name tags are available from the Rock County UW-Extension office. These stickers can be placed on your name tag to show you are in good standing within the association (similar to putting your yearly tag on your license plate).
I’M IN OVER MY HEAD!
I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!
I DON’T THINK I CAN DO THIS!
I CAN’T FIND MY REPORTING FORMS!
… and similar issues. Do not hesitate to call the Rock County UW-Extension office. All these individuals are here to help make your Master Gardener Volunteer experience a positive one. If problems arise that may interfere with your MGV training or participation, please let us know so we can do our best to accommodate your needs, if possible.