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In New York State the master gardener program is a volunteer service program not a course or certificate. The Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) programs are managed individually by county CCE associations. Our collective aim is to support the CCE’s educational mission through garden-based learning programs in our local communities. Through volunteer service CCE MGV work closely with their county program leader to support educational efforts including public gardening workshops and helping address citizens’ questions related to gardening management as well as helping community and school groups launch their own gardening programs. CCE MGV programs are focused on education and may maintain demonstration gardens as outdoor classrooms for their public workshops but maintaining gardens for outside organizations is not part of our educational outreach. More on why be a CCE MGV below at bottom of this page.

Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) county Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) programs select volunteers as needed through an application process from their pool of residents of that county. This happens at varying intervals depending on local county resources and needs. Check your local county office for current information. Core horticulture training is the first requirement of the CCE Master Gardener Volunteer commitment, followed by an agreement to volunteer with you CCE county program for one or more years for a specific number of hours. Once you stop volunteering you are no longer a CCE Master Gardener Volunteer as it is not a certificate, it is a volunteer job title.

Not every CCE county office in New York has the resources to support a CCE MGV program. Those that do are listed below. CCE local county office contact information.

If you are looking for a course not a volunteering opportunity you might be interested in horticulture Cornell Department of Horticulture distance learning courses. Find the current listings here. The content of our Organic Gardening course is very similar to the core training for the CCE Master Gardener Volunteer program. The CCE MGV training manual is also available on line for anyone to review.

Counties with Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Programs include those listed below.

CCE local county office contact information

  1. Albany
  2. Allegany and Cattaraugus
  3. Broome
  4. Cattaraugus and Allegany
  5. Cayuga
  6. Chautauqua
  7. Chemung
  8. Chenango
  9. Clinton
  10. Columbia and Greene
  11. Cortland
  12. Dutchess
  13. Erie
  14. Essex
  15. Franklin
  16. Fulton and Montgomery
  17. Genesee
  18. Greene and Columbia
  19. Hamilton
  20. Jefferson
  21. Livingston
  22. Monroe
  23. Montgomery and Fulton
  24. Nassau
  25. Niagara
  26. Oneida
  27. Onondaga
  28. Ontario
  29. Orange
  30. Orleans
  31. Oswego
  32. Otsego and Schoharie
  33. Putnam
  34. Rensselaer
  35. Rockland
  36. Saratoga
  37. Schenectady
  38. Schoharie and Otsego
  39. Seneca
  40. St. Lawrence
  41. Steuben
  42. Suffolk
  43. Sullivan
  44. Tioga
  45. Tompkins
  46. Ulster
  47. Warren
  48. Washington
  49. Wayne
  50. Westchester
  51. Wyoming
  52. Yates

CCE local county office contact information

Find out more about the National Extension Master Gardener program.

Why be a Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer?

Gardening is enjoying an expansion of interest. The documented research benefits of gardening are numerous and include: lifelong learning, environmental/scientific literacy, sense of accomplishment, physical exercise, improved health, stress relief, physical rehabilitation, psychological rehabilitation, economic success, enhanced social relationships, community building and direct access to nutritious fresh food.

Cornell Cooperative Extension is part of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture cooperative extension system and gardening can be link to every NIFA priority - serving as a catalyst for addressing food security and hunger; climate change; sustainable energy; childhood obesity and nutrition; food safety; and youth, family and community development. Gardening widespread appeal also provides opportunity to use gardens to connect with diverse audiences.

These and the other benefits of gardening are maximized when gardening success is achieved. CCE Master Gardener Volunteers with CCE educators are uniquely position to provide best practices grounded in research-based knowledge to foster the skills, knowledge and attitudes essential for creating successful gardening experiences among the 7 million New York State households engaging in garden related activities as well as school and community organizations using gardening as a tool to achieve desired outcomes.

Click here for more on the Benefits of Garden Based Learning and Research that Supports Our Work.