Alaska Master Gardeners are encouraged to volunteer with or for local organizations in their community, and if applicable, to be covered by their liability insurance. To be considered a University of Alaska Fairbanks volunteer, there are several criteria to meet. If these criteria are not met and the appropriate paperwork is not completed, volunteers are not considered official volunteers of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
There are a number of steps in order to become a certified Alaska Master Gardener:
Step 1: Complete the Alaska Master Gardener Course.
Step 2: Complete the Alaska Master Gardener Volunteer Proposal.
Step 3: While you are working on your volunteer hours, you'll need to keep track of the date, location, what you did, number of hours you spent doing it, and the number of people you reached. You will need this information to complete step 4.
Step 4: Once you've completed your 40 hours of volunteer service, then complete the Alaska Master Gardener Volunteer Timesheet. You should complete your volunteer service within one year of completing your course.
Step 5: Next, you will receive a patch in the mail and you will officially be an Alaska Master Gardener! Congratulations!
Here are some ways to fulfill your volunteer service:
- Work on a gardening project locally in your community
- Start a 4-H Garden Club or help start a School Garden
- Assist non profits with gardening projects
- Answer gardening questions at your local Extension office
- Start a community garden or help maintain one
- Teach a gardening workshop to the public, at a school, or to a club
- Help with beautification projects in your community
- Other ideas are encouraged. Please describe it in the Alaska Master Gardener Volunteer Proposal. We will let you know if it is appropriate and help you find the best person to talk with to make it happen.
If any of the following are true, then the hours are not considered eligible as part of your 40 volunteer hours:
- You were paid to do the work;
- You were doing the work in promoting a personal business; or
- You did the work before you completed the Alaska Master Gardener Course.
As an Alaska Master Gardener Volunteer, you should develop your own set of research based, Alaskan gardening resources. Here are some examples:
- Identification guides for plants, insects, spiders, birds, and mushrooms
- Be wary of just any ol' internet resource
- Listen, listen, listen!
- Be friendly and enthusiastic
- Let them talk until they stop (sometimes the best clues come from other information)
- Ask if they are an organic or nonorganic gardener
- Give recommendations based on research based information (this is a liability issue)
- If you don’t know the answer to their questions, ask if you can get back to them later. Be sure to get back to them…even if you don’t have an answer.
- Consult other Master Gardeners
- Consult a Cooperative Extension Agent
Ask them to let you know the results. An Alaska Master Gardener is someone people trust for gardening information. Be sure your information is trustworthy.
Remember: The Master Gardener Title can NOT be used for business purposes.
Contact us for any questions you may have before, during, or after you have completed your volunteer service.
*These Volunteer Guidelines are for students who complete the Alaska Master Gardener Online Course. Volunteer Guidelines vary depending on your Master Gardener Course Instructor. If you did not complete the Alaska Master Gardener Online course, please contact your instructor for their specific volunteer guidelines.