Andrea Kish and tomato
children's garden

Master Gardener Program

What is the Cornell University Master Gardener Volunteer Program?Master Gardeners are a group of volunteers trained by Cornell Cooperative Extension to perform community outreach in horticulture and gardening. The mission of Cornell University's Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program is to extend research-based horticultural information to the communities of Westchester County. Volunteers attend an intensive 75 hour training course over a 10 week period followed by a 100 hour volunteer commitment over the next two years. Most Westchester County Master Gardener volunteers remain active for many years. The Master Gardener Training is not a credential or formal certificate program.

How do Master Gardeners volunteer their time?Master Gardeners conduct public outreach through:

  • A Home Garden Lecture Series consisting of a series of six monthly lectures given by local horticulture experts
  • Lectures to garden clubs and other groups through our Speakers' Bureau
  • Writing gardening Q&A articles for the Journal News
  • Answering gardening questions at local farmers’ markets and other events
  • Performing site visits for homeowners to give cultural advice
  • Maintaining demonstration gardens at various locations throughout the county
  • Mentoring and giving technical guidance to school gardens and youth groups

What subjects does the training program cover?

  • Garden Botany
  • Plant Physiology
  • Woody Plants and their Maintenance
  • Pruning
  • Soils and Composting
  • Climate Change
  • Garden Design
  • Growing Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs
  • Lawn Care
  • Native Plants/Invasives/Weeds
  • Entomology and Integrated Pest Management
  • Plant Pathology
  • Management of Nuisance Wildlife

How do I apply for acceptance into the Master Gardener Volunteer Program?

You must be a resident of Westchester County to apply for the CCE Westchester Master Gardener Volunteer Program. You must complete an application and furnish two personal references with your application and agree to a background check. Personal interviews will be conducted from a pool of qualified applicants.

If you are a service-minded, life-long learner and enthusiastic about sharing research-based knowledge to help educate fellow gardeners and members of Westchester communities, please contact Amy Albam ( at our office for information on this intensive and comprehensive training. We accept new applications submitted on an ongoing basis, but may reserve review and decision for a future training session. Early applicants receive priority consideration.

How often is training offered?
The Master Gardener training is held in collaboration with other Hudson Valley Extension Offices and is held on an as needed basis.

Is there a fee?
Yes. The fee is determined at the time of the training. The bulk of the cost of instruction and support are subsidized by Cooperative Extension. Master Gardener Training Application

Contact our office at (Attn.: Amy Albam) for an application and additional information on the Master Gardener Program or if you have additional questions.



Amy Albam
Horticulture Educator/Master Gardener Program Coordinator

Last updated April 25, 2023