Suffolk County Master Gardener Volunteer Program

What is a Master Gardener Volunteer?

Master Gardener volunteers are trained to provide the public with gardening programs and activities that draw on the horticultural research and experience of Cornell University.

Each Master Gardener volunteer has received an initial 125 hours of research-based instruction from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. Master Gardener volunteers are kept up-to-date through continued exposure to the latest developments in environmental horticulture. In return, they have agreed to share their knowledge with neighbors by volunteering an equivalent number of hours in community service.

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. It is this tie to Cornell that provides Master Gardener with state-of-the-art gardening knowledge.

Trellising pea pod vines.
Trellising pea pod vines.

Who Can Be a Master Gardener Volunteer?

Anyone who enjoys gardening and has a desire to share knowledge and skills in their community can be a Master Gardener. Master Gardener volunteers are a cross-section of men and women from Suffolk County. Among the over 1200 Master Gardener volunteers are schoolteachers, lawyers, accountants, police officers -- some are retired, some are homemakers, some are younger, some are older -- in fact, the whole gamut of professions and lifestyles is represented. Anyone with a desire to learn more about gardening and an interest in contributing to the community on a voluntary basis is a candidate for the Suffolk County Master Gardener Volunteer Program.


How do Master Gardener Volunteers Contribute To Their Community?

Master Gardener Volunteers . . .

  • Answer gardening questions at libraries, flower shows, community gardens, etc.
  • Design and install community beautification projects.
  • Create and participate in programs for senior citizens, youth, and the physically and mentally challenged.
  • Present gardening information through a Speakers' Bureau to garden clubs, libraries and any interested groups.
  • Instruct neighbors (and neighborhoods) on the proper care of lawns, shrubs, trees, flowers and the production of fruits and vegetables.
  • Install exhibits and provide gardening information at flower shows, such as the Suffolk County Farm PumpkinFest and the Bayard Cutting Arboretum Fall Flower and Harvest Festival.
  • Offer gardening classes at public libraries, local high schools and the Suffolk County Community College.
  • Are involved with school gardens in the community.


We are revising the curriculum and weekly schedule for the Master Gardener Volunteer course to provide more hands-on training and make it accessible to people who work Monday through Friday. The next training course for new Master Gardener Volunteers will be held in 2016. Information about the course schedule and applications for taking it as the first step toward becoming a MG Volunteer will be available on this website in October 2015.


For more information about the Master Gardener program please contact:

Robin Simmen, Community Horticulture Specialist
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County
423 Griffing Avenue, Suite 100
Riverhead, NY 11901-3071
(631) 727-7850