Volunteer Position Description

General Description

Support the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in meeting the needs of our State in the area of consumer horticulture by assisting with educational programs, diagnosing plant problems, and making cultural and pest management recommendations.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Answer consumer's telephone inquiries and assist office visitors with plant/insect samples for identification or diagnosis.
  • Assist with establishing and maintaining demonstration gardens.
  • Assist teachers, 4-H volunteers, and/or children with gardening education projects in school or club settings.
  • Interpret information from Extension publications for the general public.
  • Distribute Extension information to the public at events such as garden center plant clinics, county fairs, Home and Garden Shows, etc.
  • Assist with Extension educational programming, such as giving talks for garden clubs, helping with Extension sponsored workshops, etc.
  • Keep records of consumer contacts and volunteer activities.

Time Required

Participants are expected to attend all scheduled educational sessions (40 hours). In addition, 40 hours of volunteer service are to be completed by October 15 of the current year.


The Master Gardener volunteer must show an interest in, enthusiasm for, and knowledge of gardening. He/she must be able to communicate with the public by phone and deal courteously with visiting public and Extension program participants. He/she must be able to read, write and comprehend the information presented in the training sessions, and be able to communicate that information to the gardening public. The Master Gardener volunteer must pass an open-book final exam in order to volunteer in the program. He/she must provide his/her own transportation to training and volunteer activities.


Primarily in the county office and various locations around the county. Other opportunities across the state are available.

Support Provided

In addition to the Nebraska Master Gardener Manual, Master Gardeners have at their disposal office reference materials and Internet resources to assist in answering questions and requests for information. If the Master Gardener is unable to assist a consumer, questions and requests are referred to the Extension Educator or other appropriate staff.


Your local UNL Extension Educator, Associate or Assistant will provide coordination, supervision and support to the Master Gardener volunteers. He/she will assign, review and evaluate volunteer activities.

Volunteer Opportunities

Staff in each county determine their need for volunteer help. The need and time of day for volunteer activities varies from county to county. Volunteer activities may include any of the items listed below or other activities as determined by the county staff.

  • Teaching programs at schools, nursing homes, retirements homes, or hospitals
  • Answering phones in county offices
  • Answering questions at an "Ask a Master Gardener" table/booth at public events
  • Giving programs for local garden clubs
  • Assisting with demonstration gardens
  • Giving plant tours at local gardens, arboreta, or parks
  • Writing articles for local newspapers or newsletters
  • Assisting in program management
  • Organizing the county horticulture library