Master Gardeners poising in front of some display gardens at the Suffolk County Farm.

Busy with clean up at the Suffolk County Farm display gardens.

Master Gardener manning a display table of gardening information

Barbara Renner tabling at Brookhaven Garden Show.

Master Gardeners showing off one of the many municipal improvement projects they been involved with.

Municipal Beautification

Suffolk County Master Gardener Volunteer Program

What is a Master Gardener Volunteer?

Master Gardener Volunteers are neighbors teaching neighbors about horticultural topics and environmentally sound gardening practices, providing the public with educational programs and activities that draw on the horticultural research and experience of Cornell University. Master Gardener Volunteers receive research-based instruction and are kept up-to-date through advanced trainings and workshops. In return, they agree to share their knowledge with neighbors though community service. After completing the training course and volunteering for 125 hours, they become certified as CCE Suffolk Master Gardener Volunteers.

Suffolk County’s Master Gardener Volunteer Program, along with similar programs in other counties in New York State is directly linked to Cornell University as part of its National Land-Grant College charter. This valued connection to Cornell provides Master Gardener Volunteers with state-of-the-art gardening knowledge and resources.

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How do Master Gardener Volunteers Contribute to the Community?

Master Gardener Volunteers . . .

  • Teach gardening to children, adults, educators and community groups
  • Organize and teach at the annual Spring Gardening School
  • Offer gardening classes through our Speakers Bureau at public libraries, schools, and interested groups
  • Provide gardening information at community events throughout Suffolk County
  • Participate in programs for youth, senior citizens, and people benefiting from Horticultural Therapy
  • Teach garden-based learning through school visits, Jr. Master Gardener programs, and the Summer Children’s Gardening Program
  • Cultivate and teach classes at the Children’s Garden and Herb Garden at the Suffolk County Farm
  • Provide guidance and expertise for community beautification projects, demonstration gardens, school and community gardens
  • Instruct people on gardening, landscaping, sustainable gardening practices, attracting pollinators, growing fruits and vegetables, and much more

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Who Can Be a Master Gardener Volunteer?

We welcome adults of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to the Master Gardener Volunteer program. Anyone who enjoys gardening, has a desire to share knowledge and skills, and who is willing to provide community service are encouraged to apply. To become a Certified Master Gardener Volunteer, one must successfully graduate from the course, volunteer 125 hours within a 2 year period, and remain active by volunteering at least 30 hours each year after certification.

Being a Master Gardener Volunteer is a rewarding and enjoyable experience. The commitment and dedication of our volunteers help county residents to understand best gardening practices, and contribute to making Suffolk County a more beautiful and greener place to live.

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When Can I Apply to be a Master Gardener Volunteer?

The next training course for new Master Gardener Volunteers is to be determined and will take place in 2020. Please check back for details, location and application dates. Training will be offered through an interactive, asynchronous online course, as well as through hands-on learning during in-person meetings on one or two Saturdays each month. Saturday classes will be held at our Extension Education Center at CCE Suffolk, 423 Griffing Avenue in Riverhead.

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For more information on becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer, or to request a speaker or a Master Gardener Volunteer for your project, please contact:


Roxanne Zimmer
Community Horticulture Specialist
631-727-7850 x 225

Last updated August 20, 2019