Frequently Asked Questions: Becoming a Texas Master Gardener
1. Who are the Texas Master Gardeners?
A. The Texas Master Gardener program is sponsored by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, which is part of the Texas A & M University System. AgriLife Extension works cooperatively with Commissioners Court from each Texas county, and with the Texas A&M University in Prairie View.
Texas Master Gardeners are volunteers who assist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in carrying out educational programs and activities that address horticultural issues of concern with county residents. Community members are trained through an initial intern training program, with a certificate of program completion and Texas Master Gardener status awarded once program criteria is met.
The Texas Master Gardener Intern Training program in Brazoria County is a 10 week in-class course, held annually from late January to the end of March. Applicants are encouraged to attend all intern training classes and have one year to complete 50 hours of volunteer service. Once certified as a Texas Master Gardener, each member must maintain their certification by completing a minimum of 6 hours advanced training and 12 hours service annually.
A. Their Intern Training Program host daytime classes once a week on Thursdays, from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm. Due to the pandemic, classes may be conducted online with blended in-person instruction. Annual programs include participation at the Brazoria Environmental Education Station (BEES), 799 East Hospital Drive, Angleton, 77515. Their campus consists of one classroom facility, and grounds with featured gardens, orchard and row crop growing areas. More info about the BEES facility, browse online at: txmg.org/brazoria/
3. What is the registration fee, and what does it cover?
A. The fee for the course is $200 per individual. Each participant receives a Texas Master Gardener handbook, an excellent reference and study guide. Registration fees also cover additional program materials, field trip and speakers’ fees as applicable.
4. What is the deadline for submitting applications?
A. Because of high interest and limited capacity to 20 people, they are currently screening interested individuals for the program.
Applications will be available online annually in early November and to selected individuals. You may call Brazoria County AgriLife Extension Administrative Assistant Jean Godwin (979-864-1558) or email ([email protected]) for additional program information or needing assistance with the application process.
5. How are applicants selected for the course?
A. Primary factors considered in the selection of Texas Master Gardener applicants: a serious interest in horticultural activities and a passion for community service. Please note that a college education is not required; once in the program, you will find a great support from fellow BCMGA members and from Brazoria County AgriLife Extension staff to learn as you grow. Another factor is the availability to attend training classes, and you must be able to complete all of the 50 volunteer hours within one year of training.
6. How will I be contacted in regard to the status of my application?
A. You will be contacted by the BCMGA Intern Training Committee Chair or by the Horticulture Agent via email provided on your application. This email will give you further details about the class.
7. What are some of the class topics and who teaches the class?
A. The classes includes Soils, Botany, Vegetables, Pathology (Diseases), Entomology (Insects), Water Conservation/Rainwater Harvesting, Landscape Design, Propagation, Turf Grass, Fruit & Nuts, Trees, Earth-Kind Practices and a few more topics to keep you engaged. Many of the classes are taught by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Specialists, local experts and by fellow Master Gardener Specialists.
8. Are there tests?
A. You will be taking a pre/post test used to determine how well they are teaching you! Your grade is not a reflection of your preexisting skills or program graduation – it is used as a benchmark providing them with information to improve the training program.
9. After graduation, then what?
A. Becoming a Texas Master Gardener is a continual learning experience. With what you have learned, you will be able to assist the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office with the following skills:
*Answer client inquiries and assist office visitors with plant/insect samples for identification or diagnosis;
*Assist with establishing and maintaining demonstration gardens at the BEES facility;
*Assist with Junior Master Gardener projects and school or club gardening education projects;
*Interpret information from Extension publications for the general public;
*Distribute Extension information to the public at Home & Garden Shows, County Fair and various community events throughout the county;
*Assist with Extension educational programming, Master Gardener Speakers Bureau, such as talks for garden clubs, Master Gardener workshops, etc.
*Create educational research-based publications, PowerPoint programs, news articles, etc.