Extension Master Gardener Program Training Course Novi - Oakland County

August 18, 2020 - December 1, 2020 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

MSU Tollgate Education Center, 28115 Meadowbrook Rd., Novi, MI 48377

Contact: Cathy Morris, 248-858-1639, morri735@msu.edu

We're pleased you are interested in the MSU Extension Master Gardener (EMG) program and trust it will be a rich and rewarding experience for you. Details for this 14-week training site are:

                Location:     MSU Tollgate Education Center
28115 Meadowbrook Rd.
                                    Novi, MI 48377

                When:          Tuesdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
                                     Aug. 18 – Dec. 1, 2020
(including makeup date, no class Nov. 3, 2020)

                 Cost:            $325 Fee includes:

        • $25.00 for Volunteer Selection Process which includes the background check.
        • $300.00 for training course, including 1,000-page training manual. There are no other out-of-pocket costs.

                 Payments:   Check or credit card.

                 Deadlines:    Application Due: Aug. 4, 2020
                                       Payment by check: July 27, 2020
                                       Payment by credit card: Aug. 4, 2020


About the MSU Extension Master Gardener Program Training Course and Volunteer Service

Access to World Class Gardening Knowledge. The MSU Extension Master Gardener (EMG) program connects gardeners across the state to MSU's faculty and resources. Participants have access to information generated at one of the nation's top plant science teaching and research universities and the chance to use this knowledge to improve their communities and enrich lives.

Extension Master Gardener volunteers start by completing a 14-session training course grounded in university research. This training consists of approximately 45 hours of training with classes on plant science, soil science, integrated pest management, diagnostics, annuals and perennials, woody ornamentals, lawns, vegetables, small fruits, tree fruits, household and nuisance pests, indoor plants and gardening practices to protect water resources.

Attendance Commitment: Participants must commit to attend all the training classes. If schedule conflicts occur, the participant may only miss two classes in total. However, these must be made up. Classes may be made up by attending a lecture on the same topic offered in other EMG training course locations. Upon coordinator approval, viewing approved recorded sessions, if available, is another make up option but is less engaging for course participants. 

Training Commitment: Participants must commit to completing all open-book testing documents (weekly quizzes and final) with a minimum score of 80% on each one.  

An Opportunity to Serve.  After completing the training, Extension Master Gardener trainees must complete and report 40 hours of pre-approved horticulture-related service within one year of the last class date to earn their MSU Extension Master Gardener certification. Through these volunteer activities, trainees educate others in their local community on the science-based, environmentally sound gardening practices learned during their training. Examples of volunteer projects and service may include: 

  • Working with students to design an elementary school garden.
  • Creating a hands-on horticulture therapy program at a senior center.
  • Helping/educating a neighborhood association create an urban garden.
  • Assisting with the MSU Extension State Lawn and Garden Hotline or Ask an Expert.
  • Developing and supporting educational display gardens.
  • Teaching gardening classes.
  • Providing technical assistance to community members establishing vegetable gardens to meet local nutritional needs.
  • Mentoring teachers in outdoor and indoor classrooms using gardening curricula.
  • Sharing science-based information on environmentally-friendly gardening practices at community outreach events.

After the initial certifying year, EMGs are required to annually complete and report 10 education and 20 volunteer hours as well as complete a 3-step re-certification process (which includes a $20 re-certification fee) to maintain certification.     


The Volunteer Selection Process (VSP)

As a certified MSU Extension Master Gardener, you will be representing Michigan State University. To assure the safety of our volunteers and contacts, we require your completion of the standardized Volunteer Selection Process (VSP) in conjunction with your application for the Extension Master Gardener Training Course. Upon successful completion of the application, VSP and receipt of payment in full, you will then be formally enrolled in the Extension Master Gardener training course.

The confidential Volunteer Selection Process involves four steps as outlined below: 
1.)    Completion of the following application 
2.)    Submission/completion of five references within 5 days of submitting the application. Persons providing references must be 18 years or older and should not include family members, partners, significant others, etc. References should be sent to: https://events.anr.msu.edu/mgvpfallnovi20/. 
3.)    Completion of the personal criminal history background check which includes:

  1. national background check
  2. state criminal history background check
  3. check against the Sex Offenders Listing

4.)    An interview

Steps 1-3 can be initiated by clicking on the button below and following the directions on the next screens. The application, five references and personal criminal history background check must be completed prior to the start of the training. We strongly recommend that you complete these required components as soon as possible, including following up with your listed references to ensure they provide us with the required information. 

After successful completion of steps 1-3, you will then be contacted by local MSU Extension staff to set up an interview (step 4) about your potential involvement in the Program. This interview conducted by Extension Staff will cover your interests, talents, as well as your fit with the Extension Master Gardener Program. Upon successful completion of all four steps of the VSP and receipt of payment in full, you will then be formally enrolled in the Extension Master Gardener training course.  


      • Volunteer Selection Process - $25.00 - This non-refundable fee covers the cost of your background check and VSP processing.
      • Training Course - $300.00 - Includes all training course expenses and including a 1,000-page training manual. There are no other out-of-pocket costs for this course.


      • Partial scholarships may be available. No full scholarships are provided.
      • If interested in a partial scholarship, you must complete both the online training course application AND the scholarship application. Each application is a separate process.
      • The VSP, training course and scholarship application processes must be successfully completed for a scholarship application to be considered.
      • To ensure your seat is held during the scholarship application process, you must submit payment for the VSP and the training course.
      • Scholarship applications will be reviewed and decisions made prior to the training registration deadline.
      • If approved for a partial scholarship, you will be notified of the amount and receive a refund for the scholarship amount.

Applications and Payments:

      • Online applications must be completed by the registration deadline, Aug. 4, 2020 or earlier.
      • In the rare event that an application is accepted after the due date, an additional $25 fee will be assessed to cover the application processing and the MSU Extension Master Gardener Training Manual shipping costs.
      • Your class seat is not reserved until payment in full is received and processed by MSU.
      • Your application will be cancelled if payment in full is not received within 10 days of your application submission. You have the option of canceling your MSU Extension Master Gardener training application at any time. Refunds will be issued per the Refund Policy.

o    Check Postmark Due Date:   July 27, 2020

o    Credit Card Due Date:          Aug. 4, 2020

Refund Policy:

      • A full refund, less a $35 processing fee, will be issued for any application cancelled prior to registration closing. 
      • No refund will be issued for any application cancelled after application closes.
      • No refund will be issued for any application cancelled after the training course has started. The training manual is for certified Extension Master Gardeners.

Training Course Cancellation Policy
MSU Extension reserves the right to cancel any course if the minimum participant levels are not met.  Registrants will receive a full refund as follows and may re-register for a future class:

      • Credit card payments - a credit will be issued to your credit card for the amount paid.
      • Payment by check - MSU will prepare and mail you a check for the amount paid. This process takes about two weeks after the refund has been requested.

Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible. Please indicate any accommodation requests within the application.


Event Location

28115 Meadowbrook Road Novi, MI 48377

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