Purdue Extension Master Gardener Program

Extension master gardeners

Extension Master Gardeners are volunteers of Purdue Extension who serve in meaningful educational ways in the local community to multiply horticultural knowledge to local residents. This page is designed to be a concise checklist of the steps you must take to become an Extension Master Gardener in Whitley County. If you have arrived on this page as a resident of another county, please contact the respective Extension office in your county.

Contact Us

Purdue Extension - Whitley County
524 Branch Court
Columbia City, IN  46725

(260) 244-7615


John Woodmansee, Extension Educator and Master Gardener Coordinator


EMG-Brand-2-color.pngBECOME AN EXTENSION MASTER GARDENER in Whitley county


These are the steps to follow to become an Extension Master Gardener in Whitley County. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact the Whitley County Extension Office at 260-244-7615, or email John Woodmansee, Whitley County Master Gardener Coordinator, at jwoodman@purdue.edu. Note that our Basic Training course is done in conjunction with Purdue Extension in Noble County in the fall each year. Click here for a general information brochure on the Master Gardener Basic Training program and becoming an Extension Master Gardener. Price is subject to change.

STEP 1: If you are interested in the class, please let us know! Call the number above or email John Woodmansee. We're always glad to discuss what the class will entail and what it means to be an Extension Master Gardener. If you call before class details are finalized, we'll add you to our list of prospective students and contact you directly with details, normally in early summer. 

STEP 2: Access and read a copy of the Purdue Extension Master Gardener Program Policy Guide and preliminary schedule (The 2024 schedule is not yet released. See below the 2023 schedule for reference.)

STEP 3: Complete the Volunteer Application and Agreement Form and return it to the Extension office at 524 Branch Court, Columbia City, IN. Doing this in person is best because we need to verify your ID (look at your driver's license) before the application can be approved. It's simplest to do this when the application is submitted. For a fall class, the application deadline is usually by mid-August (the exact date for 2024 to be announced).

STEP 4: After your application is approved, you will be sent a link to enroll in the local Master Gardener Basic Training class and make payment. (Alternatively, you may enroll in a state-sponsored virtual class offering, if available). The enrollment deadline is usually mid-late August (the exact date for 2024 to be announced).

STEP 5: Participate in the 15-week class (the class may be slightly more or fewer weeks in length, depending on the year), and pass the final exam with at least a 70% score. Our basic training in-person class (for Whitley and Noble Counties) is a 3-hour class once per week. Upon passing the final exam, you become an Extension Master Gardener Intern.

STEP 6: Give back to your community by volunteering at least 40 hours within the first two years to become a certified Extension Master Gardener. The local Whitley County Master Gardeners Association has many ways you can plug in and serve.

With continued volunteering, advanced Extension Master Gardener levels are available, each with a new engraved name badge and certificate awarded at a public recognition event in November. 

Come join us. We want YOU!


RELATED FILES ON UPCOMING IN-PERSON basic training CLASS in Whitley and Noble counties

NEXT class: Sept-Dec 2024

Tentative 2024 class plans (check back for updates on details): 

  • All classes from 1-4 p.m. (Every few years, we do a daytime class instead of an evening class. This is the year.)
  • Begins on Wed., Sept. 4
  • Continues every week thereafter on Mondays through Dec. 9
  • The first half of classes will be in Albion, the last half in Columbia City

2023 schedule (for reference)

Purdue Extension Master Gardener Program Policy Guide

Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Application and Agreement Form