URI Master Gardener Program

Through community service and educational outreach, we provide home gardeners and community organizations the knowledge and skills to create healthy, sustainable gardening environments. Since 1977, Master Gardeners have volunteered at the University of Rhode Island CELS Kathleen M. Mallon Outreach Center, answering public inquiries and providing information on all areas of plant health and gardening practices, as well as participating in a variety of community garden projects.

The URI Master Gardener Program is based at the Mallon Outreach Center on the URI Kingston Campus. This central location allows us to function efficiently; no volunteer in Rhode Island is more than an hour's drive from the University. Each year more that 100 people are trained to become Master Gardeners in a 16-week course. Applicants are selected for training based upon their responses to criteria on the application form. A fee is paid after acceptance into the class. A Training Manual is included in the fee.

The curriculum includes horticultural basics and relevant topics. Classes are one night a week for 12 weeks from February through April; there are two Saturday hands-on classes. Each class runs two and one half hours in the evening at a location on campus. Through a series of lectures by URI faculty and staff, as well as experienced Master Gardeners and a few local experts, trainees learn the basics of home gardening and landscaping with minimal environmental impact, including the maintenance of trees, shrubs, lawns, flowers and vegetables, and their pests. Master Gardener trainees are expected to become involved in volunteer activities...many volunteer opportunities are available. Experienced Master Gardeners Mentors from URI Master Gardener Association are always present at training classes to guide trainees for volunteering at exhibits, fairs, and other projects.

Once a trainee successfully completes the course, he or she becomes a Master Gardener intern and must complete 50 hours of service before earning the title Certified URI Master Gardener. Volunteer time may include work at one of the many Master Gardener Projects located across the state. New projects are always being developed! Master Gardeners must complete at least 20 hours volunteering each year. They also have many opportunities to take extra training sessions to fulfill their anual education requirement of 12 hours.

Apply to become a URI Master Gardener.