Lancaster County Master Gardener Program is Now Accepting Applications

Extension Master Gardener Volunteers - Now Accepting Applications for 2024 Program

Have you ever dreamed about becoming a University of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension Master Gardener volunteer (EMGV)? If so, now is the time to give some serious thought to joining in 2024. Applications for the 2024 training program are being accepted now through January 12th.  

Maybe you’ve had some questions about the program which kept you from getting involved – if so, read on! Here are answers to some of the most common questions. But remember, all that’s really needed to get started is a love of plants, enjoyment of working with others and time to share your knowledge and skills. Adults, age 18 and up, are encouraged to join! 

What is an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer? 

At Nebraska Extension, we provide science-based information to adults and youth in many different settings - from home or demonstration landscapes to county fair to classrooms. We meet clientele where they need us. So do our EMG volunteers.  
After training EMG volunteers assist Extension staff and extend our outreach by providing clientele with information they need to grow healthy food, manage beautiful climate-resilient landscapes, maintain habitat for wildlife and beneficial insects, and manage invasive pests like emerald ash borer. All of this, while conserving water, and protecting themselves and the natural environment from exposure to improperly applied or excessive amounts of pesticides and fertilizers. EMG volunteers also help youth gain a love and appreciation for the natural world.  

Master Gardener volunteers answer questions at community events or those emailed/phoned-in to the Extension Office, diagnose plant samples and help maintain community gardens.  

 In 2022, 95 EMGs volunteered 3,207 hours, a $88,000 value to their communities. Based on the Independent Sector’s Nebraska’s 2022 volunteer value of $27.44/hour. Lancaster horticulture staff and EMGs responded to 5,435 client contacts. 

 What does EMGV training involve?  

Training is offered using a hybrid method, allowing you to complete the online, self-paced assignments as your schedule allows, combined with in-depth and in-person sessions. During your first year, you’ll complete approximately 40 training hours, made up of both the self-paced work and in-person sessions.  

 How do I benefit from becoming an Extension Master Gardener? 

First, you will gain a tremendous amount of horticulture knowledge through our training program and through researching answers to clientele questions. You’ll also meet a great group of people – your fellow EMG volunteers - who share your love of gardening. And ultimately, you’ll touch the lives of neighbors in your community while helping them maintain beautiful sustainable greenspaces.  

 How To Get Started 

Complete and submit an application. Two Master Gardener programs are available for residents of Lancaster county and surrounding areas.  

Evening training classes- Complete an application on-line at, click on “Become a Master Gardener.” Or contact Teri James, email:, (402) 472-8973. Program cost is $225.00 per person. Application deadline - January 12h.  

Weekday training classes- Complete an application on-line at, or contact Mary Jane Frogge for more information. Email:, (402) 441-7180. Program cost is $225.00 per person.  Application deadline - January 12th.  

If you have additional questions, Teri and Mary Jane are happy to provide the answers. Please join us for training in 2024 and become a Nebraska Extension Master Gardener Volunteer! 

 Your Suggestions are Welcome! 

Is there a lawn and gardening topic you would like to learn more about? Sarah Browning is an Extension Educator with Nebraska Extension and can be contacted by phone 402 441-7180, by mail at 444 Cherrycreek Road, Lincoln, NE 68528: or by e-mail