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Maintaining Active MG Status


To maintain an Active Master Gardener status requires annual recertification requirements of a minimum of 10 (ten) continuing education hours and 20 (twenty) volunteer service hours. The policy states that the yearly process begins January 1st  and ends December 31st.  All Clemson Extension Master Gardeners have 12 months to complete these requirements and record them in the online reporting system.   Master Gardeners who fail to complete required hours by December 31st are considered inactive and are ineligible to volunteer as Master Gardeners until they complete a recertification process as set forth by the local MG coordinator.  Note that these policies are set forth by the Clemson Extension Master Gardener State Office. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What qualifies as continuing education?

Continuing Education means that the Master Gardener receives education from an approved instructor. Examples include lectures given at the various society meetings (not just simply attending the business portion of meetings), monthly updates provided by Clemson Extension Agents, online training, and other Clemson-approved programs that advance or improve the Master Gardeners knowledge of research-based, well-tested gardening or horticultural information. Simply attending meetings, assisting with a garden tour or show, labeling plants, informal field instruction by an individual or other Master Gardener, are some examples of activities that do not count as continuing education hours.

2. What qualifies as volunteer service hours?

An approved activity in which a Master Gardener teaches, demonstrates, or assists others in delivering research-based sound horticulture information.  For example- answering telephones at the Master Gardener offices, participating in a public “Ask a Master Gardener” events, volunteering at Urban Research and Demonstration Garden site, teaching or supporting the Annual Gardening School, lecturing, demonstrating or working at  Home Shows, and many other community-based events as advertised in the Taproot Events Calendar under the heading "Volunteer Service Opportunities". Also, please see the attached list of activities that have been previously approved.

3. Does this activity qualify? 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the activity associated with (or benefiting) a non-commercial group?

  • Is it related to gardening, the environment, or a Clemson Extension program?

  • Are you helping to educate others about sustainable gardening practices?

  • If you still have questions, contact Jan Litton or Christopher Burtt.

4. Examples of activities that do not count include:

  • Any work for which you get paid.

  • Physical labor, other than Clemson approved non-profit educational garden projects, Clemson demonstration gardens, or other approved projects as advertised in the Taproot Events calendar or through the Clemson Extension email distribution list.

  • Personal or family-related projects ( helping your neighbor plant a garden, work in a Homeowners Association garden area

  • Educational activities/programs which are not pre-approved by Clemson Extension Agent (Christopher Burtt)

  • Volunteer hours as a member/officer of a Board of Directors, other than the Tri-County Master Gardener Association BOD.

  • If you are not sure, please ASK.

5. When should I report my hours?

You may report hours weekly, monthly, or as they are completed. It may be helpful to maintain a hard copy document of your volunteer time as you complete it so that when you log on to the website you have an accurate record. The sooner you report, the sooner you achieve the next milestone badge. Be sure you report in the correct month/year.

6. How do I report my hours?

Report all your time in one-quarter hour increments:

.25 = 15 minutes

.50 = 30 minutes

.75 = 45 minutes

1.0 = 1 hour

Round up or down to the closest number if necessary, for example, 55 minutes would round to 1.0; 50 minutes to .75. It all evens out over time. Do not report 30 minutes as .30, rather as .5.

7. Do I report travel time and mileage?

Yes! Once you have completed the initial 40-hour volunteer requirement, you may count your travel time. Report the ROUND TRIP mileage in the “miles” category each time you enter your volunteer hours.

Report the ROUND TRIP travel time under the category, “Administration; Master Gardener administration activities not related to educational service programs (planning of non-educational and social activities, duties as an association officer).” Do not include travel time in the same category as the volunteer service/CE category.

8. What is a “contact”?

A contact is a person to whom you provide gardening information. Discussing gardening information with a fellow MG does not count as a “contact”. If you just say “hi” to someone at a farmers’ market, fair, or another venue…THAT IS NOT A CONTACT! When you answer questions at the farmer’s market, the fair, or on the phones at the office, those individuals are contacts.

9. Why do we need to report our volunteer time?

Reporting your volunteer time helps to justify the Master Gardener program. In 2012 the Tri-County Master Gardeners provided gardening information and assistance to over 43,000 residents of Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester Counties, traveled over 172,000 miles and logged over 22,000 volunteer hours fulfilling the mission of the MG program. This equates to an economic value of over $471,604, based on the national volunteer rate for our area per hour. The Master Gardeners make a huge impact in the community and we need to let everyone know that!

10. What is the website address to report my hours?

You will receive a link to the Clemson Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Hours Reporting webpage, where you will log in via your email and password. Click on Add Activity, and choose which activity was done, how many hours, etc.

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