Bylaws and Policies
Click to read the bylaws of the Kanawha County Master Gardener Association.
The West Virginia University Extension Master Gardener Program is a volunteer educational program designed to meet the horticultural needs of citizens of West Virginia. Its purpose is to train volunteers and utilize their expertise to teach people more about plants, their culture, their importance to the environment and to our quality of life. Master Gardener volunteers provide technical assistance to their County Extension Office in order that consumer horticultural activities and programs can be more effectively and efficiently carried out.
Master Gardener trainees receive formal training from their County Extension Office covering a wide range of pertinent horticultural topics. To become a Master Gardener, the trainee must complete the training program, pass the required exams, volunteer a specified number of hours to Extension, and do a required presentation during training.
The volunteer commitment may be fulfilled in a number of different ways depending on the determined needs of the county residents. After the completion of the initial required volunteer time, volunteers are encouraged to continue to assist with horticultural program delivery as a West Virginia University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer.
The formal training program is the responsibility of the county Extension professional managing the program. Instructors are West Virginia faculty, Extension Specialists, experienced Master Gardeners, and the other experts.
The training program is to provide a balanced, integrated practical course in plant science. Core tropics that are to be part of the training in every county are Orientation to Extension and the Master Gardener Program; Basic Botany; Soils and Fertility; Plant Propagation; Basic Entomology; Plant Disease Diagnosis; Pruning; Pesticide Use and Safety; and Communication Skills. Special topics, based on local needs, may be part of the curriculum.
The principal resource for the training will be the Penn State Master Gardener Training Manual. Core training is held during a three month period, with advanced training or in-service provided during the year in accordance with local needs and resources. An annual state-wide one-day conference is offered to assist in fulfilling in-service requirements.
To cover the sot of training manuals and supplies, a non-refundable standardized fee determined by the County Coordinator, will be charged. Upon an individual’s acceptance into the program, this fee will be paid by the County Extension Office or the Master Gardener volunteer as per county policy.
Each Master Gardener trainee is expected to attend every class session. The trainee is responsible for initiating provisions to make up any missed sessions. 80% attendance at training sessions must be maintained for completion.
EXAMINATIONS AND QUIZZES
There will be an open-book exam to test the trainees’ abilities to retrieve information from reference materials. Trainees must accurately complete 80% or better.
Upon successful completion of the Master Gardener training program, each volunteer will receive a Master Gardener Completion Certificate. Upon fulfillment of the volunteer commitment, the participant will then receive an official Master Gardener certificate and name badge.
The Master Gardener training course consists of a minimum of 30 hours of instruction. An equivalent number of horticulturally significant volunteer hours is required to become a certified Master Gardener. Only unpaid public service in West Virginia University Extension-sponsored activities counts toward the requirement. Other volunteer activities may be counted after receiving prior approval by the local coordinator. The required volunteer hours should be completed within one year of completion of the training course.
Each Master Gardener will have a completed application, signed Master Gardener Volunteer Agreement, signed West Virginia University Extension Standards of Behavior, and a service record on file at the local Extension office. The information is treated confidentially. Volunteers’ records are kept in separate files in a secured place and are accessible only by trained Extension staff. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to make sure that the information on their application(i.e. address) and their service record is kept current and accurate. This is necessary for liability reasons and for the protection of the volunteer as well as program clientele.
When Master Gardeners speak before groups on horticulture topics, it is permissible for them to accept unsolicited reimbursements or gifts. It is inappropriate, however, to seek paid speaking engagements while participating in an authorized Extension function and while using the Master Gardener title. In all cases, the County Extension Office policy on speaking engagement fees should be honored. When a Master Gardener travels out of county for a speaking engagement, it is appropriate to request payment for travel expenses for the County Extension Office of other organization requesting the Master Gardener’s services.
USE OF TITLE
The title “West Virginia Master Gardener” is to be used only and exclusively in the West Virginia Extension Master gardener Program. West Virginia Master Gardeners are expected to identify themselves as such only when doing unpaid public service work under the auspices of the West Virginia University Extension.
West Virginia Master Gardeners, when performing Master Gardener activities, are considered unpaid staff of West Virginia University Extension. Master Gardeners are trained by Extension personnel and other experts and are provided with Extension publications. In addition to their training, Master Gardeners receive diagnostic support from the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic at West Virginia University and from various Extension Specialists. When it is necessary to make recommendations which include the use of pesticides, Master Gardeners must follow labeled or West Virginia University Extension recommendations and cite their publication. They are not to rely on their own personal experience, that of others, or common garden folklore.
Once an individual has completed the necessary requirements and is certified as a West Virginia Master Gardener, this does not mean that she/he is automatically a Master Gardener for life. Master Gardeners must be recertified each year to remain on the “active” list and maintain the Master Gardener title.
Master Gardener Recertification is achieved by fulfilling the following requirements:
1. Donating a minimum of twelve hours of volunteer service each year
2. Completing a minimum of six hours in-service training by any of the following options:
-participation in State, Regional, or International Master Gardener Conferences
-participation in county-sponsored advanced training sessions
-participation in any other programs approved by the local coordinator for recertification
An inactive Master Gardener is one who is unable to commit to an additional 12 hours service plus 6 hours advanced training at present, but would like the opportunity to recertify themselves in the future. The following policies apply:
1. An inactive Master Gardener is one who is in good standing, having completed the original commitment of training, exam, and volunteer service.
2. The inactive Master Gardener must attend or have attended six hours of acceptable horticulture training for each year of inactive status. (see Recertification #2)
3. An inactive Master Gardener may recertify within three years as long as the above criteria are met. Individuals on inactive status for more that three years, in addition to meeting the above requirements, must also retake and pass the final exam.
OUT OF STATE
Master Gardeners who are certified in another state may be admitted into the West Virginia Gardener Program by meeting the following criteria:
1. acquire a current West Virginia Master Gardener Training Manual
2. acquire a West Virginia Master Gardener name badge
3. score a minimum of 80% on a final exam administered by the county Master Gardner coordinator
4. meet the recertification requirement listed above
DISMISSAL OF A MASTER GARDENER VOLUNTEER
Repeated and consistent disregard for the policies and guidelines established by the West Virginia University Extension and the West Virginia Master Gardener Program are grounds for dismissal as a Master Gardener Volunteer. When the county Master Gardener coordinator finds it necessary to dismiss a volunteer, the volunteer must be informed in writing of the termination of his/her volunteer status. This notice of dismissal will become part of the volunteer’s confidential file.