What is a Master Gardener?
The Virginia Cooperative Extension (Stafford Office), an agency of Virginia Tech, serves as the sponsoring organization for the Master Gardener Association of the Central Rappahannock Area (MGACRA). Master Gardeners are members of the local community who pledge to volunteer to educate the public within Planning District 16 (Fredericksburg and the counties of Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George, and Caroline) about horticultural and environmental-related information. Master Gardener volunteers act on behalf of the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) to provide unbiased, research-based information and serve as a link between the state's land grant universities and the community. The program has become increasingly important as rapid growth has put more and more demands on local extension offices.
Master Gardener Classes
The Stafford County VCE Office manages the Master Gardener program in Planning District 16, which includes the City of Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania, and Stafford. Stafford's senior extension agent annually offers Master Gardener classes, normally in the fall. Anyone interested in obtaining information on the program or being placed on the mailing list for the next class should contact the Stafford Extension Office at 540-658-8000 ext. 1056
Volunteers undergo 50 hours of education from VCE. Afterwards, Master Gardener interns are each required to provide 50 hours of volunteer service through approved projects in the first year. Upon completion of these requirements, the volunteers are recognized as Master Gardeners (MGs). To maintain active status each year, Master Gardeners are required to volunteer 20 hours on approved community service projects and attend 8 hours of additional educational training.