Master Gardener Volunteer Agreement

The intent of the agreement is to assure University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener volunteers of our deep appreciation of your services and to indicate our commitment to do the very best we can to make your volunteer experience a productive and rewarding one.

The purpose of the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener Program is to provide horticultural information specific to local climates, soils, and plants, and training to the general nonprofit gardening public, based on University of Illinois research when available.

In the capacity of a certified University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener volunteer, I understand and agree to do the following:

  • work with local Extension Unit staff and volunteers to implement a program of excellence in the community
  • comply with training, documentation, certification, and recertification requirements, as delineated in the Illinois Master Gardener Manual (currently a minimum of 30 hours of approved volunteer service and ten hours of approved continuing education annually)
  • provide unbiased horticultural information endorsed and sanctioned by University of Illinois Extension
  • disseminate University of Illinois horticultural information to the general nonprofit public, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation
  • refer non-home-gardener inquiries to the appropriate educator or specialist
  • cooperate with and support Extension unit staff members to jointly further the missions and objectives of the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener Program
  • consistently exhibit a professional manner to Extension unit staff, other volunteers, and the public
  • use the title of University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener only when doing unpaid public service work through University of Illinois Extension-sponsored or -approved programs. The title is not to be used to advertise names or places of business, nor to associate the Master Gardener name with commercial products or give implied endorsements of any product or place of business
  • follow state and federal laws and regulations as well as the fiscal policies and guidelines of the local Extension unit and the University of Illinois
  • recognize that verbal or physical abuse, failure to comply with equal opportunity and antidiscrimination laws, or committing criminal acts may be grounds for termination as a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener
  • refrain from using or possessing weapons, alcohol, or illegal substances while participating in volunteer activities. Being under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances or possessing a weapon during Master Gardener service may result in termination as a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener
  • provide my own transportation and pay my own expenses incurred as part of official volunteer activities. Expenses may be tax-deductible with proper documentation. Actual out-of-pocket expenses for supplies and materials provided by volunteers may also be recovered through program or class fees charged to participants upon prior approval of the county director
  • abide by the Illinois Department of Agriculture licensing requirements for the application of pesticides when acting as a Master Gardener volunteer
  • give permission to disclose my identity and to reproduce and distribute videotapes, films, photographs, and transparencies of me taken at approved University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener programs
  • possess a valid Illinois driver's license and the minimum amount of state-required automobile insurance if I will drive others as part of my approved volunteer role
  • abide by the spirit of the above rules and follow current University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener program policy guidelines in order to maintain my certification as an Extension Master Gardener

I further understand that University of Illinois Extension will do the following:

  • disseminate research-based horticultural information to all who request it, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation
  • support Extension Master Gardener volunteers
  • provide equipment, training, supervision, and direction to volunteers through the local Extension unit
  • communicate expectations and responsibilities of the program to volunteers
  • uphold and cultivate a trusting relationship between staff and volunteers
  • provide continuing education opportunities such as the annual state Master Gardener conference
  • provide a state Master Gardener newsletter and website
  • provide University of Illinois reference materials
  • provide a safe working environment within the University of Illinois Extension office
  • provide access to University of Illinois Extension professionals
  • match volunteer skills and interests with volunteer opportunities within the local Extension unit

I have read and understand this volunteer agreement. I further agree to abide by the conditions and behavioral expectations of this document. I understand that my failure to comply with these expectations may result in my termination as a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener volunteer.*

This University of Illinois Extension Annual Volunteer Agreement will be on file in the University of Illinois Extension Unit office.