Image of a sunflower with the master gardener volunteer program logo.

Extension Master Gardener Program Training Course - Iron Mountain (Dickinson County)


We're pleased you are interested in the MSU Extension Master Gardener (EMG) program and trust it will be a rich and rewarding experience for you. Details for this 14-week training site are:

                Location:      All classes will be offered online except for required last class, Volunteer Orientation, which will be held in person when it is safe to do so.   
                                     Physical location of last class TBD. 

               When:           Thursdays, 5:30 – 10:00 p.m. EST (4:30 - 9 p.m. CST)
                                     Sept. 3 – Dec. 17, 2020
(including makeup date and no class on Nov. 26) 

                Course Fee:   $325 - includes: All background check and training course expenses including 1,000-page training manual. There are no other out-of-pocket costs.

                Training Manual:  You will be required to pick up the Extension Master Gardener manual when it is made available.

                 Payments:   Credit card (preferred) or check.

                 Deadlines:    Application Due: Aug. 27, 2020
                                     Payment by check: Aug. 20, 2020
                                     Payment by credit card: Aug. 27, 2020


About the MSU Extension Master Gardener Program Training Course and Volunteer Service

Access to World Class Gardening Knowledge. The MSU Extension Master Gardener (EMG) program connects gardeners across the state to MSU faculty and resources. Participants have access to information generated at one of the nation's top plant science teaching and research universities and the chance to use this knowledge to improve their communities and enrich lives.

Extension Master Gardener volunteers start by completing a 14-session training course grounded in university research. This training consists of approximately 45 hours of training with classes on plant science, soil science, integrated pest management, diagnostics, annuals and perennials, woody ornamentals, lawns, vegetables, small fruits, tree fruits, household and nuisance pests, indoor plants and gardening practices to protect water resources.

Training Course Format:  To enhance volunteer engagement, the typical and preferred format is face-to-face.  Based upon COVID-19 restrictions, this fall course will be offered online.  The only exception will be a required face-to-face volunteer orientation session (typically the last class of the training) which may be postponed until it is safe to meet in person.

Technology Requirements:  Below are recommendations for the optimal interactive online training:

  •  A computer, laptop or tablet with latest version of your browser
  •  A reliable, internet connection - broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)
  •  Webcam or HD webcam - built-in or USB plug-in
  •  Speakers and a microphone - built-in or USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth
  •  Latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader

Attendance Commitment:  Participants must commit to attending all the training classes live. If schedule conflicts occur, the participant may only miss two classes in total. However, these must be made up. Classes may be made up by attending a lecture on the same topic offered through another EMG training course location. Upon coordinator approval, viewing approved recorded sessions, if available, is another make up option but is less engaging for course participants. 

Training Commitment:  Participants must commit to completing all open-book testing documents (weekly quizzes and final) with a minimum score of 80% on each one.  

An Opportunity to Serve.  After completing the training, Extension Master Gardener trainees must complete and report 40 hours of pre-approved horticulture-related service within one year of the last class date to earn their MSU Extension Master Gardener certification. Through these volunteer activities, trainees educate others in Michigan communities on the science-based, environmentally sound gardening practices learned during their training. Examples of volunteer projects and service may include: 
  • Working with students to design an elementary school garden.
  • Creating a hands-on horticulture therapy program at a senior center.
  • Helping/educating a neighborhood association create an urban garden.
  • Assisting with the MSU Extension State Lawn and Garden Hotline or Ask an Expert.
  • Developing and supporting educational display gardens.
  • Teaching gardening classes.
  • Providing technical assistance to community members establishing vegetable gardens to meet local nutritional needs.
  • Mentoring teachers in outdoor and indoor classrooms using gardening curricula.
  • Sharing science-based information on environmentally-friendly gardening practices at community outreach events.

After the initial certifying year, EMGs are required to annually complete and report 10 education and 20 volunteer hours as well as complete a 3-step re-certification process (which includes a $20 re-certification fee) to maintain certification.    


The Volunteer Selection Process (VSP)

As an MSU Extension Master Gardener, you will be representing Michigan State University. To ensure the safety of our volunteers and public contacts, we require your completion of the standardized Volunteer Selection Process (VSP) in conjunction with your application for the Extension Master Gardener Training Course. Upon successful completion of the VSP, EMG training application, and receipt of payment in full, you will then be formally enrolled in the Extension Master Gardener training course.

The application, references and personal criminal history background check must be completed prior to the start of the training. We strongly recommend that you complete these required components as soon as possible. You will be contacted by local MSU Extension staff to set up an interview as soon as it is safe to do so.  This interview will cover your potential involvement in the Program along with your interests and talents.  


  • Partial scholarships may be available. No full scholarships are provided.
  • If interested in a partial scholarship, you must complete both the online training course application AND the scholarship application. Each application is a separate process.
  • The VSP, training course and scholarship application processes must be successfully completed for a scholarship application to be considered.
  • To ensure your seat is held during the scholarship application process, you must submit payment for the EMG training course.
  • Scholarship applications will be reviewed and decisions made prior to the training registration deadline.
  • If approved for a partial scholarship, you will be notified of the amount and receive a refund for the scholarship amount.
Applications and Payments:
  • Online applications must be completed by the registration deadline, Aug. 27, 2020 or earlier.
  • In the rare event that an application is accepted after the due date, an additional $35 fee will be assessed to cover the application processing and the MSU Extension Master Gardener Training Manual shipping costs.
  • Your training course seat is not reserved until payment in full is received and processed by MSU.
  • Your application will be cancelled if payment in full is not received within 10 days of your application submission. You have the option of canceling your MSU Extension Master Gardener training application at any time. Refunds will be issued per the Refund Policy.
    • Check Postmark Due Date:   Aug. 20, 2020
    • Credit Card Due Date:          Aug. 27, 2020
Refund Policy:
  • A full refund, less a $35 processing fee, will be issued for any application cancelled prior to registration closing. 
  • No refund will be issued for any application cancelled after application closes.
  • No refund will be issued for any application cancelled after the training course has started. The training manual is for certified Extension Master Gardeners.
    • The training manual is for certified Extension Master Gardeners.  Should you choose to not complete the training course, it is expected that the training manual be returned in good condition.
Training Course Cancellation Policy
MSU Extension reserves the right to cancel any course if the minimum participant levels are not met.  Registrants will receive a full refund as follows and may re-register for a future class:
  • Credit card payments - a credit will be issued to your credit card for the amount paid.
  • Payment by check - MSU will prepare and mail you a check for the amount paid. This process takes about two weeks after the refund has been requested.
Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible. Please indicate any accommodation requests within the application.


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For more information contact Rebecca Krans at