Colorado Master Gardener Program | Becoming a CMG Volunteer

Becoming a Colorado Master Gardener Volunteer




Since the applicant needs county specific information regarding the CMG program, CMG applications are NOT available on-line. Contact your local CSU Extension County Office.

The title "Colorado Master Gardener” is a registered service mark of Colorado State University Extension.  It is used to identify volunteers serving in official CSU Extension activities.  It may not be used to infer credentials or otherwise imply endorsement of a private business.  It may not be used on marketing materials of a business.

The title "Colorado Gardener Certificate" is used by students who have completed the CMG/CGC training in situations where they are not representing CSU Extension as a volunteer. The Colorado Gardener Certificate may be displayed in a place of business and used in business marketing.




CMG Outreach

Colorado Master Gardener Volunteers assist CSU Extension staff in delivering knowledge-based gardening information to foster successful gardening. Annually, 1,350 CMG volunteers serving in 36 county/area based programs donate $1.3 million in volunteer time.

The CMG Volunteer's audience is exclusively home gardeners. Examples of CMG volunteer service include answering phone calls at County Extension Offices, staffing diagnostic clinics, teaching gardening classes, writing newspaper articles, and mentoring community gardening and greening projects. Refer to CMG Outreach for additional details on CMG activities.

Return to top of page
Return to CMG homepage



CMG/CGC Training

Colorado Master Gardener/Colorado Gardener Certificate, CMG/CGC, Training is offered on a multi-county basis for counties along the Front Range corridor (Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, El Paso, Gilpin, Jefferson, Larimer, and Weld Counties) and the Tri River Area (Mesa, Delta, Montrose and Quray Counties).

In rural counties, training is offered via distance education at the local county Extension office. This facilitates training at the county level where class size will be small and extensive travel by the students and instructors become unreasonable. Counties participating in the distance education course include Archuleta, Chaffee, Eagle, Fremont, Garfield, Golden Plains Area (Kit Carson, Phillips, Washington, and Yuma), Grand, Gunnison, La Plata, Logan, Montezuma, Morgan, Pueblo, Routt, San Miguel and West Montrose Area, Summit, and Teller.

See county contacts below for details on locations and training days.

The typical basic curriculum includes ten weeks (60 hours) of classroom instruction. Classes are held January through April, one day per week, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with an hour for lunch. Evening classes meet two evenings per week from 6 to 9 p.m. Some variations occur in the basic schedule to accommodate local needs. Contact the local county Extension office for county specific details. [Additional details on curriculum content]


Schedules

  • 2015 Colorado Front Range Counties
  • Tuesdays, starting January 20th — Arapahoe, Douglas, and Elbert Counties, in Littleton and Castle Rock
  • Wednesdays, starting January 21st — Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Gilpin, and Jefferson Counties, in Denver, Golden, and Broomfield
  • Thursdays, starting January 22nd — El Paso County, in Colorado Springs
  • Fridays, starting January 23rd — Adams, Boulder, Larimer, and Weld, Counties, in Loveland

  • 2015 Thursday Distance Education Class, starting January 29th — Schedule under development

Enrollment Options


  • Participants may enroll as CMG volunteers (that is apply to become a CMG volunteer). CMG activities include the training class plus 50 hours minimum volunteer CMG service. For additional information on the CMG application process, refer to CMG Application Process below.

  • The training is also available without a volunteer commitment (classroom training only) for a higher fees as Colorado Gardener Certificate Students.

Return to top of page
Return to CMG homepage



CMG Application Process

To start the CMG application process, call or e-mail your county office of CSU Extension. County contact information is listed in the table below.

CMG programs operate at the county level, with primary support from the county government. Applicants should generally apply to their home county. In special situations (such as the work location versus the home location) a potential volunteer may apply to a neighboring county. However, it should be understood that most counties give priority to county residents, being responsive to the local county budget and local taxpayers. Applicants who apply to multiple counties will not be considered.

The program requires that the volunteer work be completed for the county/area program to which the applicant applied. For example, an application to the Jefferson County CMG program necessitates that the volunteer work be completed FOR the Jefferson County CMG program.

Individuals interested in the CMG Training from counties that do not offer the CMG Program may apply to a neighboring county under cross-county enrollment and transfer options.

Extension programs are available to all without discrimination. Selection is not based on race, age, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or veteran status, disability or handicap.

Students requesting handicap accommodations should directly contact the CSU Resources of Disabled Students Office at 970-491-6385.


Steps in the CMG Application Process


  • Step 1 - Contact your local CSU Extension County Office for program information and the application form. County contact information is listed in the table below. Since the applicant needs county specific information, CMG applications are NOT available on-line.


  • Step 2 - Submit a completed CMG Application Form by the application deadline.
  • The application form asks for background information on gardening and volunteer experiences, general availability for volunteer work (used by program coordinators to help connect volunteers with projects), criminal background information, contact information for three references, and includes a signed contract committing the CMG volunteer to 50 hours minimum volunteer work in exchange for the training.

  • For the winter training (January-April), applications are processed in the fall of the year. Colorado Front Range Counties have a October 15th application deadline. For other counties, contact your county office for application deadline.

  • For the fall training (September-December) offered in the evenings in Boulder County, applications are processed mid-summer. Contact the county office for application information and deadlines.

  • Step 3 - Background check – Colorado State University requires background checks, including driver’s license checks, of all new volunteers.  A criminal record or poor driving record does not bar you as a volunteer, but will be considered as it relates to the specifics of the volunteer position.

  • The potential volunteer receives an e-mail from CSU Human Resources with a hotlink to the screening company, HireRight. The volunteer logs into a secure site, enters their social security number, answers some questions about where they have lived, etc. and logs off. The university’s IT people have confidence in the security and confidentiality of the HireRight system. If a potential volunteer does not receive this email within two week of submitting their application, contact your County Extension Office to check on the process. Depending on the individual's email filters, the email could be found in the junk mail file.

  • HireRight conducts a national background check, including driver’s license check, and shares the results with CSU Human Resources.  

  • If a potential volunteer elects not provide HireRight with the needed information, they also elect not be become a volunteer for CSU.

  • If a potential volunteer does not have email, contact your County Extension Office to process the background check information request by mail.

  • Step 4 - Preliminary screening will be off the application form. Primary considerations are based on:
  • Interest in volunteer work
  • Availability for volunteer work
  • People skills (i.e., ability to assist Extension in home horticulture educational efforts)
  • Gardening experience
  • The Colorado Gardener Certificate enrollment option (to participate in the class without any volunteer commitment) provides educational opportunities for those not interested in or available for volunteer work.

  • Without fundamental gardening experience, it is unreasonable to expect that someone will develop the background and knowledge base required to work with our clientele by just attending the training. This is not a volunteer program for the novice gardener.

  • Staff will email confidential reference letters to the references listed on the application. At least two must be returned before the applicant can be accepted into the CMG program.

  • Step 5 - Interview – Most counties invite applicants in for an informal interview giving the applicant the opportunity to learn more about the CMG Program and ask questions about training and volunteer work. Some counties include a written exam in the application process.


  • Step 6 - Applicants will be advised if they were selected for the CMG Program.  In counties with a larger population base, significantly more people apply than can be accommodated.  Applicants who are not selected as CMG volunteers may enroll under the Colorado Gardener Certificate (non-volunteer) option (as space allows).
  • Correctly stated, interested individuals apply to become a Colorado Master Gardener volunteer representing CSU Extension.  The decision to accept or not accept any individual as a volunteers is the right of CSU Extension. 

  • Additionally, CMG volunteers serve at the request of Colorado State University Extension.  This request can be withdrawn at any time. 

  • Step 7 - Pay class fees – If accepted into a local CMG Program, payment of class fees is the final enrollment step.

Return to top of page
Return to CMG homepage


Volunteering is a privilege, not a right.

Under ruling of the US Supreme Court, volunteering for any organization is a privilege, not a right. So correctly stated, a person applies to become a CMG volunteer. Under the Federal Volunteer Protection Act, CSU Extension is expected to screen all applicants; selecting individuals whose interests, values, and availability are appropriate to represent the CMG Program. In most counties, we have more qualifying individuals apply than the program can accommodate.

According to CSU Extension policy, volunteers serve at the request of CSU Extension as non-paid staff. The request to serve as a CMG volunteer can be withdrawn at any time.

Return to top of page
Return to CMG homepage


Colorado Gardener Certificate Enrollment

Individuals interested in the CMG Training without a volunteer commitment may enroll for the coursework under the Colorado Gardener Certificate, CGC, training option.  The course work is available for a higher fee in-lieu-of the return service.  Individuals, who were not selected for the CMG volunteer program, may enroll as Colorado Gardener Certificate students (as space allows).

Upon completion of the course, CGC students receive the Colorado Gardener Certificate.  However, without the volunteer commitment, participants do not become Colorado Master Gardeners.

To receive the Colorado Gardener Certificate, students must satisfactory complete the CMG/CGC training (i.e., attend at least 80% of the class sessions and complete assigned homework).  Participants are expected to attend all training sessions.  However, that is not always possible due to illness, family emergencies, and weather-related travel issues.  When missing a class, the student is responsible for the content and should invest extra time with the study materials. Most lecture segments are also available 24/7 online. Attendance of the class sessions at another location is not an option.

The Colorado Gardener Certificate may be displayed in a place of business and used in business marketing.  The Colorado Gardener Certificate is also given to CMG volunteers upon completion of the class and 50 hours minimum volunteer commitment.

Fees - For the 2015 training, tuition and fees for the Colorado Gardener Certificate training (as a non-volunteer) is $530. The course is comparable to a four-credit class. By comparison, tuition for a four-credit class is $1,729.

CGC Enrollment - To enroll in the CMG/CGC Training as a Colorado Gardener student (non-volunteer), send in the completed Colorado Master Gardener Enrollment Form with the tuition and book fees.  Contact your County Extension Office for additional information and the enrollment form. Space is limited and on a first come (paying) basis.

Return to top of page
Return to CMG homepage


County Contacts


County Contact Person
Phone Number
Training Location 2015 Dates
Adams Sharon Moore
303-637-8100
Training for Adams, Boulder, Larimer and Weld County held at the Larimer County Fairground, Loveland. Fridays
starting Jan. 23
Arapahoe Mae Rauen
303-730-1920
Training for Arapahoe, Douglas and Elbert Counties held in Littleton and Castle Rock. Tuesdays,
starting Jan. 20
Archuleta Terry Schaaf
970-264-5931
Delivered into Archuleta County (Pagosa Springs) with Distance Education Technology. TBA
Boulder Carol O'Meara
303-678-6377
Weekday class: training for Adams, Boulder, Larimer and Weld Counties, held at the Larimer County Fairground, Loveland. Fridays
starting Jan. 23
Fall evening class: training for Boulder County, held in Boulder. 2014 Evening Class
Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting Sept. 23
Broomfield
303-464-5558
Training for Broomfield, Denver, Gilpin, and Jefferson Counties held in Golden, Denver, and Broomfield. Wednesdays,
starting Jan. 21
Chaffee Kurt Jones
719-935-6447
Delivered into
Chaffee County (Salida) with Distance Education Technology.
TBA
Clear Creek

Christine Crouse
303-679-2424

Training for Broomfield, Denver, Gilpin, and Jefferson Counties held in Golden, Denver, and Broomfield. Wednesdays,
starting Jan. 21
Denver Merrill Kingsbury
720-913-5272
Training for Broomfield, Denver, Gilpin, and Jefferson Counties held in Golden, Denver, and Broomfield. Wednesdays,
starting Jan. 21
Douglas Mary Jo Woodrick
720-733-6930
Training for Arapahoe, Douglas and Elbert Counties held in Littleton and Castle Rock. Tuesdays,
starting Jan. 20
Eagle Jenny Lorch
970-328-8634
Delivered into Eagle County (Eagle) with Distance Education Technology. TBA
Elbert Sheila Kelley
303-621-3162
Training for Arapahoe, Douglas, and Elbert Counties held in Littleton and Castle Rock. Tuesdays,
starring Jan. 20
El Paso

Barbara Bates
719-520-7690

Training for El Paso County held in Colorado Springs.

Thursdays, starting Jan. 22
Fremont Becky Chace
719-276-7390
Delivered into Fremont County with Distance Education Technology. TBA
Garfield Pat McCarty
970-625-3969
Training for Eagle and Garfield Counties delivered into Eagle with Distance Education Technology. TBA
Gilpin Irene Shonle
303-582-9106
Training for Broomfield, Denver, Gilpin, and Jefferson Counties held in Golden, Denver, and Broomfield. Wednesdays
starting Jan. 21
Golden Plains Area
Washington, Kit Carson, Phillips Sedgwick and Yuma
Linda Langelo
970-854-3616
Delivered into Golden Plains Area with Distance Education Technology.
TBA
Grand Travis Hoes 970-724-3436 Delivered into Kremmling with Distance Education Technology. TBA
Gunnison Eric McPhail
970-641-1260
Delivered into Gunnison County (Gunnison) with Distance Education Technology.

TBA

Jefferson Patti O'Neal
303-271-6633
Training for Broomfield, Denver, Gilpin, and Jefferson Counties held in Golden, Denver, and Broomfield. Wednesdays,
starting Jan. 21
La Plata Darrin Parmenter
970-247-4355
Delivered into La Plata County (Durango) with Distance Education Technology. TBA
Larimer Alison O'Connor
970-498-6005
Training for Adams, Boulder, Larimer and Weld Counties held at the Larimer County Fairgrounds, Loveland. Fridays
starting Jan. 23
Logan Brian Kailey
970-522-3200
Delivered into Logan County with Distance Education Technology. TBA
Montezuma Tom Hooten
970-565-3123
Delivered into Montezuma County (Cortez) with Distance Education Technology. TBA
Morgan Rich Guggenheim
970-542-3542
Delivered into Morgan County (Ft. Morgan) with Distance Education Technology. TBA
Pueblo Linda McMulkin
719-583-6579
Delivered into Pueblo County (Pueblo) with Distance Education Technology. TBA
Routt Susan Hope
970-879-0825
Delivered into Routt County (Steamboat Springs) with Distance Education Technology. TBA
San Miguel and West Montrose Yvette Henson
970-327-4393
Delivered into San Miguel County with Distance Education Technology. TBA

Southeast Area in Otero County

Jennifer Wells
719-254-7608
Delivered into Otero County (Rocky Ford) with Distance Education Technology. TBA
Teller Mark Platten
719-689-2552
Delivered into Teller County (Cripple Creek) with Distance Education Technology. TBA
Tri River Area
Mesa, Delta, Montrose and Ouray
Susan Carter
970-244-1834
Training for Tri River Area held in Grand Junction. TBA
Weld Carrie Shimada
970-304-6535
Training for Adams, Boulder, Larimer and Weld Counties held at the Larimer County Fairground, Loveland. Fridays
starting Jan. 23
Return to top of page
Return to CMG homepage

Page updated September 15, 2014
David Whiting, CSU Extension