Extension Master Gardener Volunteers

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Our Ann Arbor city parks are home to a LOT of gardens and we love partnering with volunteers to care for them. All gardens, whether they are formal landscaping or established native gardens, need ongoing care and maintenance. 

Volunteering in our park gardens is a great way for Master Gardeners to earn the volunteer hours required to both complete their training and maintain their certification.  The Master Gard​ener program​ is an adult horticulture education and volunteer training program run by Michigan State University.​ Visit the MSU Extension Master Gardener​ page to learn more about their program.

We have two opportunities that are ​pre-approved as Master Gardener volunteer activities. By volunteering with these projects, Master Gardeners will share their experience and knowledge gained through the Master Gardener training with people in their community -​ who may have little or no gardening experience but are eager to learn more! Everyone in our community benefits from park gardens that are cared for and support our natural environment.

Master Gardeners must report their volunteer hours in the Master Gardener volunteer portal through MSU Extension, as we do not submit volunteer hours with MSU​.

​​​Short-term Garden Adoption​​

Master Gardeners can adopt one of our park gardens for at least one month and up to a full season, in order to fulfill a significant number of their volunteer requirement. Total number of volunteer hours available is between 15 and 40. During their commitment, Master Gardeners will be responsible for the garden's care. This will include independent work sessions and at least one public volunteer event co-led by our staff Gardener and the Master Gardener. 

Once a location is selected based on garden availability, season, and number of volunteer hours needed, the Master Gardener will go through an onboarding process. They will collaborate with the staff Gardener to determine the current state of the garden and create a work ​plan. Any plants for the garden will be provided by Adopt-a-Park and borrowing of tools can be coordinated.

The volunteer event will be a two-hour workday open to public volunteers, which will provide support on tasks such as weeding and spreading mulch in the garden. Adopt-a-Park will help with volunteer recruitment and marketing and the Master Gardener will collaborate with staff to determine tasks. During the volunteer workday, the Master Gardener will help lead volunteers by describing the garden, demonstrating tasks, and working alongside volunteers. 

Reach out to the Adopt-a-Park Coordinator, Melissa, at ado​[email protected] or 734.794.6445 to inquire about gardens available for short-term adoption and discuss the onboarding process. Read the EMG Short-Term Garden Adoption Guide for additional details about this opportunity.​

One-time, 2-hour Volunteer Events​

During the months of April through October, we hold 2-hour long volunteer events led by our staff Gardener to help with stewardship and maintenance in our park gardens.  These events will be open to all types of volunteers including Master Gardeners and general volunteers. Volunteers may include people who have little or no gardening experience. Master Gardeners are a valuable resource to help teac​h people in the community who are interested in learning a little more about gardening!

During these ​volunteer events, Master Gardeners will work with our staff Gardener at various Ann Arbor park locations. They will assist staff in leading volunteers in general gardening tasks such as weeding, planting, and mulching.  Master gardeners may have opportunities to lead planting demonstrations, guide volunteers in plant identification, and share other gardening expertise. They will be expected to work alongside other volunteers and staff, and assist as needed.

Approved gardening volunteer events can be found on our Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities​ page and include "EMG Approved Gardening Event" in the description. Master Gardeners must register for the event prior to volunteering with us and will receive an email with details about the event including arrival time, meeting location, and what to expect.

Email [email protected] or call 734.794.6445 with questions regarding this volunteer opportunity.