The Master Gardener Program is a volunteer service program where adults are given advanced training in horticulture in exchange for volunteer service to the community.
The mission of the Master Gardener Program is to provide current, research-based, home horticulture information and education to the citizens of Iowa through ISU Extension programs and projects. Through their participation in educational activities, Master Gardeners also increase their own personal knowledge in horticulture.
Become a Master Gardener
Make an impact by becoming a Polk County Master Gardener! Master Gardeners receive advanced horticulture training from ISU Extension and Outreach, and in exchange provide volunteer service to our community.
Learn more about the process to become a Master Gardener.
Interested in becoming a Polk County Master Gardener volunteer, or have questions about the program? Contact ISU Extension and Outreach, Polk County:
Since 1979 more than 15,130 people statewide have completed the Master Gardener volunteer training thanks to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Extension Master Gardeners is an internationally recognized volunteer program. The program exists in all fifty states, and in Iowa is coordinated by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach with support from the Department of Horticulture.
The first Master Gardener Program was initiated in King County, Washington in 1972. In response to overwhelming requests for horticulture information, the extension agent came up with the idea of trading specialized training in horticulture for a commitment to spend a specified number of hours doing volunteer outreach work for extension. The Iowa Master Gardener program was first piloted in Scott County in 1979. Today, there are Master Gardeners in more than 80 of the state’s counties. Each year Iowa Master Gardeners provide more than 100,000 hours of volunteer service back to their communities.
Since 1916 ISU Extension and Outreach Polk County has served its residents by connecting them to research and resources developed by Iowa State University. Knowledge and programs offered through the ISU Extension and Outreach, Polk County office have been specifically tailored to represent, enhance, and meet the needs of Polk County residents and community. For 2021 ISU Extension and Outreach, Polk County will focus on local issues including: K-12 youth outreach, well-being, nutrition, and community development. ISU Extension and Outreach, Polk County is a part of a 99-county campus backed by research to serve all Iowans to create a strong Iowa.