Virginia Cooperative Extension relies on volunteers to accomplish its mission. We believe that active citizen involvement in our programs makes a difference in our success. The work of volunteers at the local level helps us leverage our paid faculty and staff resources into a much greater impact for the people of Virginia. There are many ways you can get involved with us. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss available opportunities.

Virginia Cooperative Extension relies on volunteers to accomplish its mission. The two main programs at our Hanover office are the Master Gardeners and 4-H.  All volunteers are required to pass a background check every 3 years. Volunteers who work directly with Youth may need additional screenings. 4-H volunteers who participate in Junior camp are required to pass a background check every year prior to the start of camp.

The Master Gardener program, offered through Virginia's two land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, provides intensive horticultural training to individuals who then volunteer as Master Gardeners in their communities by working with residents, carrying out projects, diagnosing plant problems, conducting research, and many other projects. Master Gardeners are volunteer educators of environmentally sound horticultural practices. They seek to improve the quality of life in their communities through education. Master Gardeners are individuals who are specially trained by Extension, love gardening, enjoy teaching others, feel a strong commitment to community service, and feel strongly about preserving natural resources. 

RVA Regional Virtual Master Gardener Course
January 19 - March 25, 2021 

Course Requirements:
  • Due to COVID-19, the 2021 Master Gardener Course will be virtual by way of ZOOM and Canvas.  Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, and City of Richmond have joined forces to offer a virtual Master Gardener Course that will offer unprecedented flexibility for Trainees. 
  • Laptop/desk top device, wifi, webcam and speaker are required.
  • Additional details available on 9/3/2020 recorded information session "How to become a Master Gardener"  via the  Hanover H(U)GS YouTube Playlist  session # 13 . Other recorded sessions are available there as well.
  • Submit the application below to the unit in which you wish to volunteer via mail or email. Application deadline is 10/30/2020. (See contact info below)
  • Provide references and undergo a Background check.
  • Set up an interview:  In Person- Tuesday, 10/6/2020- 9:00-11:00am  (Social distancing and masks required) at the VCE Hanover Extension office lawn., or Virtual by Zoom- Thursday, 10/8/2020 - 5:30- 6:30pm.  Appointments are required.
  • Acceptance decisions will be sent by 11/13/2020.
  • One-time fee of $180 for Hanover County, which includes all resources materials, is due after acceptance into the program. A check should be made payable to "Treasurer of Virginia" and write in the note section "2021 MG Course."  Deadline for payment is 11/20/2020. A limited number of scholarships may be available for Master Gardener Trainees.
  • If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact the Extension Office during normal business hours. 
2021 EMG-Application-Form-Final (1).pdf

The goal of becoming a Master Gardener is PUBLIC EDUCATION. The course for a TRAINEE is 50 + hours. Speakers are experts in the fields. Kits will be provided for hands-on exercises as a part of some classes. Passing an open-book exam is required. You will be trained in the following fields:

  • basic botany
  • soils and nutrient management
  • plant propagation
  • pruning
  • basic entomology (insects)
  • plant disease diagnosis
  • pesticide use
  • vegetables
  • lawns and lawn weeds
  • trees and shrubs
  • annuals-perennials-bulbs
  • water quality
  • animals and wildlife
  • native plants and habitat gardening
  • pollination 
  • Monday and Tuesday 9-11 am plus one additional day per Unit.
  • Hanover, Chesterfield and Henrico - Thursday mornings 9-11 am.
  • Richmond City - Wednesday evenings 6-7 pm.
  • Complete educational volunteer service as an INTERN (50 hours).
  • Volunteering in APPROVED PROJECTS that focus on Public Education. 
  • Hours must be completed within 12 months of finishing classroom portion. 
  • (Differences may apply given COVID-19 ask your unit).

  • Participants become certified Master Gardeners after they have completed the training course and fulfilled their internship volunteer commitment. 
  • Maintain certification annually: 20 hours of approved volunteer service and 8 hours of approved education and record keeping via the Extension Volunteer Management System.  
  • (Differences may apply given COVID-19 ask your unit)

For more information contact your city/county unit: 

Provide your first and last name, phone number and county/city of residence when leaving a message.

Hanover Cooperative Extension- Angelette Pryor -804-752-4309 -
13015 Taylor Complex Ln. Ashland, VA 23005 

Other Units Contacts:

Henrico - Ed Olsen  - 804-501-5160
Chesterfield - Melissa Simulcik - 804-751-4401
Richmond City- Brittany Council -804-786-4150

A 4-H Club is an organized group of youth (ages 9-19) with elected officers and a planned program that is conducted throughout the year or the majority of the year. Clubs are lead by adult volunteer leaders and may focus on one or more project areas. Club officers conduct monthly business meetings. Members also participate in a variety of learning experiences in their organizational meeting as well as within their project areas. Project meetings may be held as often as deemed necessary, but at least once a month.

Like all 4-H programming, the number and type of clubs is determined by the number of willing volunteers. Did 4-H touch your life as a child?  Help the next generation experience 4-H become a leader or Adult Volunteer.  Contact or 804-752-4309.

Leader Training requires a passing a background check every three years, attendance at leader training classes and record keeping via 4-H Online. Adult 4-H volunteers who participate in Junior camp are required to pass a background check every year prior to the start of camp.

Adult Volunteers are needed to help at various county and district wide events. We will work with your availability if at all possible. Specifically:

  • Judges at our communication arts contests held December through May: 3-4 hours
  • Camp Chaperones at Jamestown Residential Junior Camp  Summer: 1-5 days (5 days preferred but we will work with your schedule if possible).
  • Other 4-H shows and events.

For more information about 4-H please visit the 4-H Youth Development page.