Welcome Master Gardener Volunteer Applicant

Thank you for your interest in the Master Gardener Volunteer Program through the University of Florida, Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Extension Services (UF/IFAS Extension) in Lee County.  

Before you dive into the application, please take the time to read through the following information to decide if this program is a fit for you.  



With the vision of being the most trusted source of horticultural education in Florida, the Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) assist Extension agents in providing research-based horticultural education to county residents and community organizations.  

MGVs represent UF/IFAS Extension and their counties’ residential horticulture programs in their communities. They lead, advise, and support active and educational projects. MGVs guide tours in botanical and estate gardens and advise teachers at school and community gardens. They hold leadership roles within community-supported agriculture ventures and youth development programs. They present educational programs to civic, social, and environmental organizations while advocating for natural resources, ecological balance, and best management practices in many horticultural activities.  


The MGV program in Lee County follows the Florida state model in recruiting individuals who enjoy gardening and sharing what they know with others. The training begins with a 12-week course that reviews gardening and landscaping principles and introduces the flow of information from research to public dissemination through UF/IFAS Extension. The year after finishing the course, MGV trainees donate 75 volunteer hours and complete 10 educational hours each to become UF/IFAS Certified Master Gardener Volunteers. The MGV program requires 35 volunteer hours and 10 educational hours per year to maintain active certification.  



The 12-week lecture series and hands-on training course fully immerses MGV trainees in the researched-based Florida Friendly Landscaping Principles. UF/IFAS Extension Agents, Extension Research Faculty, and seasoned Certified MGVs teach online and in person. The curriculum starts with basic botany for gardeners and expands to essentials of landscape design. It includes topics such as plant identification, propagation, plant health and diseases, mutualism with insects and fungi, soils, fertilizers, pesticide & herbicide safety, turfgrass, ornamental plants, edible plants, trees, palms, orchids, and more. 

The course is designed with Lee County’s unique environment and population profile in mind. It starts in an online format to accommodate the heat of summer and transient residents. It finishes with boots on the ground and hands in the dirt. Using an educational platform from late August to mid-October, MGV trainees are taught foundational principles with online videos, activities, and discussions. Remote meetings review each week’s topics. The second half of the course brings all MGV trainees together at Berne Davis Gardens in Fort Myers, where the curriculum goes deeper into specific topics through in-person lectures, field trips, hands-on lab activities, and Q&A discussions with experts. A final exam completes the course the week before Thanksgiving.  


The exact days and times are TBD. The syllabus and itinerary will be available by June 30 and emailed to every eligible MGV applicant.

Tuition for the MGV training course is $275.00, due a week before the training course. It includes the Florida Master Gardener Program Student Manual, Botany in a Day, and all lab materials.  



Lee County Parks and Recreation (Parks) and UF/IFAS Extension enjoy a cooperative agreement, in which UF/IFAS Extension serves Lee County residents through programs in agriculture and natural resources, marine education, 4-H Youth Development, Family and Consumer Sciences, commercial and residential horticulture. 

Lee County MGVs are concurrent volunteers for Parks and accumulate volunteer perks from Parks. Certified MGVs and MGV trainees join existing projects within UF/IFAS Extension programs and/or represent the Extension within outside events and organizations. 

Below is a sampling of organizations where MGVs give generously with educational support and outreach activities.


  • UF/IFAS Extension Office MGV Plant and Insect Diagnosis Desk 
  • UF/IFAS Florida Friendly Landscaping Seminars for HOAs and Residents.



Create an account below to apply to the Lee County MGV training course and program by June 16. After the deadline, a committee of MGVs and Extension personnel will interview eligible candidates and choose a cohort of 30 MGV trainees. All applicants will be notified by the end of July.  

The MGV program is very popular across Florida. Unfortunately, the course is limited to about 30 MGV trainees from Lee County. Please consider the obligation involved in obtaining and maintaining MGV certification carefully. 


Filling out the form takes about 20 minutes. You will be asked to agree with three statments, the 2024 Annual Agreement, the Policies for MGVs, and a short Application Submission Statement. Use the links to download the documents and read them before submitting the application.



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