Volunteer Opportunities

Time commitment

The payback of volunteer time required for Master Gardeners finishing the class is set at 40 hours. This equals the hours of training received. The district Extension agent can help you find a volunteer activity that meets your talents and needs.

Use a volunteer timesheet to record hours. Once complete, return the form to the Extension office.

Volunteering in the Fairbanks Area

One of the backbones of the Cooperative Extension is our volunteers. These individuals work for years making a difference in the community and we appreciate their efforts. Master Gardeners are required to complete 40 hours of community service to receive a Master Gardener Patch - signifiying you have completed all the necessary components. You can volunteer anywhere throughout the community doing garden related activities. A couple of the most popular places to volunteer throughout the community are listed below.

Denali Center Greenthumb Program

The residents at Denali Center have a weekly Greenthumb gardening group. Residents enjoy planting seeds, transplanting houseplants, arranging flowers and easy gardening projects. They also have indoor planters in which to start bulbs. They are looking for two or three Master Gardeners interested in helping. Volunteers should be able to commit to two hours per week. Denali Center is a residential nursing home facility in Fairbanks. The majority of the population is elderly. Master Gardener volunteers help to design and implement a gardening program for residents. The goal of the program is to work with residents and involve them in planting and caring for plants throughout the growing season. Contact Carol Switzer at 907-458-5107 or Carol.Switzer@bannerhealth.com.

Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Shelter

Volunteers are needed to help with the FNSB Animal Shelter landscaping project. In the middle of May, volunteers meet to plant and design. In late May, volunteers are needed to plant baskets, boxes and trees. Help is also needed with summer watering. For more information, contact Suzanne Summerville at ssummerville@gmail.com.

Golden Heart Plaza and Riverwalk Gardens

Festival Fairbanks, a nonprofit community service organization, has been the “caretaker” of Golden Heart Plaza and Riverwalk Gardens. Master Gardeners donate one day to planting annuals or pruning and shaping trees and perennial shrubs in the park. Contact the Festival Fairbanks office at 907-456-1984.

Hospice of the Tanana Valley

Master Gardeners donate plants for the annual plant sale and help with publicity. Volunteers can also help plan the event, with meetings starting in February, or help in the greenhouse. Proceeds from the sale help pay for programs for families with terminally ill members. Contact Beth Vonnahme at 907.479.8974 or beth@alaska.net.

Demonstration Garden and Booth Sitting at Tanana Valley State Fair

Master Gardeners have had extensive volunteer activities at the fairgrounds, including serving as judging superintendents in berries, fruits, vegetables, flowers and grains; display consultants; and grounds beautification. They have also spent hundreds of hours at public information booths. Contact Darcy Etcheverry at ddetcheverry@alaska.edu or 907.474.2422

Flower Bed Planting at UAF

Master Gardeners instruct and assist other community members in planting flowers. Planting is the last week in May. Contact UAF facilities 474-7000 for more information.

Weeks Field Community Park

Master Gardeners have helped develop and care for the 13-acre park adjacent to the Noel Wien Library. The group meets Thursday mornings in the summer to tend perennial beds, trees, prune, irrigate, fertilize, weed, and generally care for the area. It is a convenient place to help if you live nearby, and children and dogs are always welcome at work parties. To volunteer contact, Joan Robson at 907.457.6989 or joanrobson@gci.net; Denise Bates at 907.456.5797 or dbates@mosquitonet.com

Annual Master Gardener Tour and Barbecue

More than 50 individuals attend the midsummer Master Gardener educational garden tour. This tour provides the community with a look at the premier gardens of Fairbanks and to see methods that do work. Contact Emily Reiter, president of the Master Gardeners of the Tanana Valley, at 907-479-0803 or fnear@uaf.edu.

Kids’ After School Gardening Program

Anyone interested in working with children in a gardening class should call Becky Hammer at 907-488-1809 or rahammer@alaska.net. Kids meet after school Wednesday in April and May from 3:15-4:30 p.m. at Weller Elementary School. About four fun activities are planned per session.

Pioneer Park Gardeners

The Master Gardener Association has established several beds at Pioneer Park, including a historical vegetable garden. Help is needed in planting and caring for the plantings. Contact Emily Reiter, president of the Master Gardeners of the Tanana Valley, at 907-479-0803 or fnear@uaf.edu.

UAF Georgeson Botanical Garden

Activities include planting seeds, transplanting, maintaining the garden, harvesting vegetables, building a rock wall, working in the gift shop and fund raising. Check out the list of jobs at http://georgesonbg.org/volunteer/, or contact the volunteer coordinator at 907-474-6921.

Walt Babula Children’s Garden at UAF Georgeson Botanical Garden

Establishing the children’s garden will require the talent and energy of many skilled and semi-skilled volunteers. You can help plant seeds and provide general labor at the garden. Contact the Botanical Gardens at 907-474-6921.

Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center

Volunteers are needed especially in the early spring when flowers and vegetables need to be planted into the ground. Vegetables are donated to Stone Soup Café. Contact Jason Faris at 907-347-5877 or jason@morristhompsoncenter.org

Other Activity Ideas

❒ Assist with plantings at Fairbanks Pioneer’s Home

❒ Write articles for the Master Gardener Update newsletter

❒ Assist Extension with homeowner site visits

❒ Plant flowers at the downtown bus stop

❒ Judge gardens in the 4-H garden tour

❒ Start a 4-H gardening club

❒ Help plan garden activities at a local elementary school

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