In order to maintain certification, Master Gardeners must remain on active status. This requires ten hours of continuing education updates and 30 hours of volunteer service each year. To document completion of these requirements, Master Gardeners are required to report their hours online to the state by using the new Volunteer Time Tracking System (VTTS) that is accessible via the state Master Gardener website at web.extension.illinois.edu/mg.
To use this system, Master Gardeners must first register, using their e-mail address as the user name, and set up a password. There is an online tutorial available. Master Gardeners without online access should contact Jill Selinger for assistance at (847) 835-6849.
Hours should be reported no later than December 20 of each year. You may post hours to the VTTS on a regular or monthly basis, or at the end of the year. Please report all hours, above and beyond the required hours, so the state has an accurate record of all volunteer and education hours provided by Master Gardeners to the community and the state of Illinois.
There are many opportunities available for Master Gardeners to fulfill their continuing education requirements. The Garden and local U. of I. Extension offices offer courses that can apply for credit toward the ten-hour requirement. Horticulture-related courses taken at other institutions may also qualify; however, Master Gardeners must get approval by suggesting a class in the Tracking System. Another way to fulfill the education requirement is to attend the State Master Gardener Conference held in late summer or fall each year. Approved courses offered at the Garden are available at the link below. Each term, the list will be updated as additional courses are offered. You can report your education hours individually to the VTTS after each class, or at the end of the year.
Current Master Gardeners are asked to complete a Volunteer Agreement Waiver at the beginning of each year for the state office. This form can be completed and filed online by following the link on the sidebar at the left side of this page.