Flathead Master Gardener Classes

Master GardenerThe MSU Master Gardener Course is taught by local Extension Agent, Patricia McGlynn in conjunction with plant professionals, volunteers and MSU Adobe Connect programming.  Courses take place annually.  Students meet for 16 hours, typically in Janarury. Those who participate receive the Montana Master Gardener Handbook and a binder filled with informative handouts.  In level one you will learn about soils and fertility, plant growth and development, growing food from your yard and garden, flowers, trees, shrubs, vines, lawns, composting and much much more.  To be certified Master Gardener at Farmers Marketas a Montana Master Gardener, students are required to pass a final exam and commit to 20 hours of volunteer community service.  The class cost, time and location will be determined this fall. We are currently taking contact information for those who may be interested in taking part in this informative class. 

*Master Gardener program begins in the spring for 8 weeks, location varies, cost $185, includes book and binder, $50 to be refunded once your community service hours are completed and turned into the local Extension office.

Please take a moment to fill out the form below and return it to our office by mail, fax or email and we'll gladly add you to our contact list. 

For more information or to register your community service hours go to the Montana State University Extension Master Gardener webpage at https://mtmastergardener.org/.

Our webpages must be accessible so we have our documents in printable/downloadable PDF version first, then we have the document in a webpage version. You may need to scroll through the page to find the document you are looking for.

Documents on this page:

  1. Master Gardener Community Service Hours Log Sheet 
  2. Creating an Account on the Master Gardener Website 
  3. Master Gardener Community Service Contract 
  4. Master Gardener Level Description 
  5. HIstory of the Master Gardener Program 
  6. Master Gardener Registration Form Level 1 (when available)
  7. Master Gardener Scholarship Form (when available)

Printable version of Master Gardener Community Service Hours Log Sheet (PDF)

Montana Master Gardener Log Sheet

Name                                                                Email






Date                            Brief Description of Project or Activity


Length of Time

Location of Activity & Contact Information of Project or Activity Coordinator


Educational Outreach and Support Activities


Volunteer Gardening

Labor or Coordination


Other       Number of Contacts        Mileage*









* Keep track of mileage for your own tax records.   Check with IRS for deduction rates.   Keep a copy of this sheet for your own records.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Montana State University and the Montana State University Extension Service prohibit discrimination in all of their programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital and family status.

Printable version of Creating an Account on the Master Gardener  Website (PDF)


Please use these directions to record your volunteer hours and other information needed by the state Master Gardener coordinator.

Master Gardener website instruction image 1 

  1. Go to the Master Gardener web site at :http://www.mtmastergardener.org/

You will see the page pictured below. In the top right corner you will see the gray Login box. Click on the words “Sign Up” and follow the directions on the next page.


If you have completed the ”Sign Up” directions (on the next page) but you forget the password you created, you can return to the page above and in the bottom of the gray box you will see the blue words: Forgot Password? Click on those words and you will get help retrieving your password.Master Gardener website instruction image 2

2. Sign Up - Fill out the following information:

* In the first box create your own personal User ID in the first box. Most people use their first initial and last name.

* In the second box create your own password. Copy it in a secure location because we are not able to access your password if you forget it.

* Fill out the remaining information. For county, use the pull down menu and use Flathead, even if you reside in a different county because this is where the class is taught.

* Record your t-shirt size. The level I shirts run a little small.

* The Bot Check is to insure that an automated hacker is not used.

* Click on the “Register” box.

The information will be sent to the state coordinator as well as the county extension agent, Pat McGlynn. Pat will then approve you as a paid student. It will take a day or so for this transfer to occur.


3. After you have been approved, log in to see the following information:

Master Gardener website instructions image 3

When you click on “View Handouts” or “View Presentations“ you will find:

1. Study Guides for each week which you may want to print ahead and bring to class.

2. Power Point Presentations that were used in class

3. Power Point Class Notes which have note taking lines next to each slide

4. MontGuides and other handouts which are also in your binder


Click on the blue words on the right side that say “View Document” or “Link” in order to open each document.


Click “Add Volunteer Hours” on the left side of this window to record a description of your volunteer activity, hours, and travel miles.


Printable version of Master Gardener Community Service Contract (PDF)

Montana State Universtiy Flathead County Master Gardener Community Service Contract

Name ________________________________________________________________________


Location of Community Service Project:


Activity to be performed:


Supervisor and contact phone number:


Hours and/or dates of service anticipated:


Master Gardener Signature:_______________________________________________________

Approved by:___________________________________________________________________


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Montana State University and the Montana State University Extension Service prohibit discrimination in all of their programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital and family status.

Printable version of Master Gardener Level Description (PDF)

Master Gardener Level Description

Level 1 Master Gardener

This 16 hours course will be taught by the local Extension agents, plant professionals, volunteers, or via Adobe Connect and the Internet.  During the beginning of the Level 1 Master Gardener course you will receive the Montana Master Gardener Handbook and other informative handouts pertaining to the class.  In the Level 1 Master Gardener course you will learn:

  • Introduction to Montana State University Extension and the Master Gardener Program
  • Soils and Fertility (N-P-K-Fe)
  • Plant Growth and Development Part 1
  • Growing food from your yard and garden
  • Flowers
  • Trees, Shrubs, Vines and pruning
  • Lawns and Irrigation
  • Composting
  • Introduction to Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Following the completion of the Level 1 Master Gardener course, you will be required to pass an open-book exam and fulfill your volunteer commitment of 20 hours.  The cost, time and location will be determined by the county Extension agent of Master Gardener coordinator.

Level 2 Master Gardener

The classes will be taught by the local Extension agents, plant professionals, volunteers, or via Adobe Connect and the Internet.  The Level 2 Master Gardener course is am intermediate/advanced gardening course for those who have prior knowledge or experience in gardening.  The Level 2 Master Gardener course will teach you:

  • The role of Master Gardener in Extension
  • Binomial nomenclature
  • Fertility, plant nutrients (more emphasis on micronutrients and microorganisms)
  • Plant growth and development Part 2
  • Entomology, plant diseases and abiotic disorders
  • Vegetable and Fruit Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • Tree, shrubs and Lawn Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • Advanced pruning and woody ornamental care
  • Propagation
  • Water Conservation

Following the completion of the Level 2 Master Gardener course you will be required to pass a closed book exam and fulfill your volunteer commitment of 30 hours.  The cost, time and location will be determined by the county Extension agent or Master Gardener coordinator.

Level 3 Master Gardener

The Level 3 Master Gardener course will be offered  beginning the summer of 2011.  This three day intensive training offered through the Montana State University Extension Service will be held on the campus of Montana State University-Bozeman.  The class will begin with a 2-week online preparation course followed by the three-day training on campus.  There will be approximately 30 hours of class time and a 30-40 hour volunteer commitment.  The Level 3

Master Gardener course will emphasize a hands-on curriculum.  More information  will be available in the near future. 

Login Sign up

Master Gardener - Frequently Asked Questions

What is a “volunteer commitment”?

During or upon completion of your training, you will meet with the program coordinator to discuss your talents and the needs of Cooperative Extension.  You will choose a volunteer placement that will best utilize your knowledge and skills while helping Extension to meet community needs.  Volunteer commitments may include:

  • Answering horticulture questions at local Extension offices
  • Staffing Clinics
  • Staffing booths at fairs and farmers markets
  • Writing articles
  • Helping design, install and maintain community flower and vegetable gardens
  • Teaching Master Gardener classes
  • Helping set up Master Gardener classes
  • Applied research through the county Extension office
  • Other volunteer placements that help meet the needs of the community 

When will the Master Gardener classes be offered?

The Level 1 Master Gardener course will be available to the Extension agents January, 2010. The Level 2 Extension Master Gardener course will be available March, 2010. If the Extension service in your county offers the Master Gardener program, they will determine the time, place and location of the class. For further information regarding the Montana Master Gardener program in your county,  contact your local  MSU County Extension Office.

When can I use the title "Master Gardener"?

You will receive the title “Master Gardener” upon completion of each course Level of the program.  You may not use the name “Master Gardener” to promote any private entity such as a business or consulting service.  You can use on your resume…

What if I am already a certified Master Gardener?

If you are already a certified Montana Master Gardener you will be considered a Level 2 Master Gardener.  However, for you to be recognized as a Montana Master Gardener you must contact your county Extension Service so that we can create a state-wide database for those that have completed the course.  Please bring your certificate or proof of course attendance to your county Extension office or contact the state wide coordinator at:

Extension Horticulture                                          Assistant Master Gardener Coordinator 

Toby Day                                                               Dara palmer

P.O. Box 173140                                                    PO Box 173140

312 Leon Johnson Hall                                           312 Leon Johnson Hall

Bozeman, Montana 59717                                     Bozeman, MT 59717 

Tel: (406) 994-6523                                               Tel: (406) 994-6523   toby.day@montana.edu 


What is the cost of the Master Gardener Program?

The cost of the Extension Master Gardener courses are determined by the county Extension Service that elects to offer the course.  Inquire with your local county Extension office for more information.

Where can I find the textbook for the class?

The Montana Master Gardener’s Handbook will be handed out the first day of the master Gardener class or is offered through Montana State University Extension Publications.  To purchase the Montana Master Gardener’s Handbook contact  Extension Publications. 

Distribution Center Communications & I.T. Po Box 172040

Bozeman, MT 59717

Tel: (406)994-3273

Fax: (406) 994-2050

Location: 115 Culbertson Buy online orderpubs@montana.edu

Where do I learn more about the Master gardener program in my area?

For further information regarding the Montana Master Gardener program in your county or city, contact your local  MSU County Extension Office.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Montana State University and the Montana State University Extension Service prohibit discrimination in all of their programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital and family status.

Printable version of History of the Master Gardener Program (PDF)


By David Gibby*, William Scheer*, Sharon Col'men, George Pinyuh*

Updated in 2008 by Tonle Fitzgerald, WSU Extension Statewide Master Gardener Program Leader

Washington State University Extension initially assigned horticulture faculty to county offices as part of the Agriculture, Home Economics and 4-H outreach education programs. The emphasis of the horticultural programs was crop production. It was not until rapid urban growth and the burgeoning interest in gardening that Extension began to develop programs emphasizing urban horticulture.

In 1971 David Gibby and Bill Scheer, Area Extension Agents, had started separate assignments in the major metropolitan areas represented by King and Pierce Counties. They focused respectively on urban and commercial horticulture. Public demand for information about plant problems was so intense that it made educational programming for either of them virtually impossible.

Initially administrators suggested that getting information out via the mass media would solve that problem. The result was that television and radio gardening shows put on by Gibby served only to make the public aware that the Extension office was the place to get help. Consequently Gibby and Scheer met to explore other avenues to most effectively address the needs of the backyard gardener.

Among approaches considered was the concept of recruiting and training volunteers to serve the urban audience. This appeared to be the most feasible option as it would free Gibby and Scheer from constantly reacting to public demand and allow them to be proactive in fulfilling educational needs. Recruitment would require a careful selection process.

An appropriate and distinguished title would also be necessary. As both Gibby and Scheer had worked in Germany acquiring language proficiency and understanding of the culture, they knew that Germans bestow titles for hard-earned proficiency levels in various crafts. The top proficiency level in horticulture is denoted by "Gartenmeister," which they anglicized as "Master Gardener." This title would be appropriate for volunteers who had received extensive training.

The volunteer concept was discussed many times before it was taken to various subject matter specialists at the Western Washington Research and Extension Center (WWREC) in Puyallup. The specialists initially rejected the idea of training volunteers.

To test the viability of the concept, Gibby, in 1972, organized a trial clinic at the Tacoma Mall featuring specialists to see if the public demonstrated interest in receiving gardening information. In preparation he wrote articles for the Tacoma papers and aired spots on television. The results were far better than specialists had expected. They were now convinced and committed to help train volunteers. Gibby was now able to take the project to the next level. In the meantime Scheer continued his work in commercial horticulture, but helped teach MG classes for the next 20 years.

Gibby had arranged for Steve Lorton, with Sunset Magazine, to cover the trial clinic. Lorton wrote an article for the Northwest edition under the caption "Wanted: Expert Gardeners to Become Master Gardeners." There were about 600 initial inquiries. Gibby interviewed all applicants and accepted 300.

Recollections vary as to how many people were actually trained A fair figure would be about 200. Ed Hume, media gardening expert, was an honorary trainee. He provided valuable help in advertising the program and continues to do so.

The next step was to develop a training curriculum. Subject matter was to include culture of ornamental plants, lawns, vegetables and fruits; control of plant diseases, insects and weeds, and safe use of pesticides. Sessions were to be held eight hours per day, one day a week, for five weeks. At the end of the training, volunteers were required to pass subject matter exams, as well as am exam for pesticide licensing by the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Master Gardeners were then committed to volunteering a specified number of hours working with the gardening public.

Faculty specialists from the WWREC Center and county faculty participated in teaching. The first training sessions in King County took place at the Renton Library and in Pierce County at the Tacoma Grange Hall during the spring of 1973. Later that same year training was provided in the eastern Washington city of Spokane by Horticulture Extension Agent David Bosley, making the new program a statewide endeavor.

Funds in the amount of $500 were needed to stock the first clinics staffed by Master Gardeners, but Gibby's application was turned down by University Extension administration. A second submittal written by Gibby, and signed by Arlen Davison, Extension Plant Pathologist at the WWREC, was eventually approved.

By the end of 1973 Gibby resigned from WSU to take leadership in ornamental nursery production with Weyerhaeuser Company. Sharon Collman, who had been working as program assistant with Gibby, became King County Extension Agent and continued managing the program for several years. She is credited with building a solid foundation for the program, as well as promoting and expanding it. She held the program together under the hardship of long hours during a time of budgetary constraints. She also helped other Extension offices establish Master Gardener programs in Washington and in other states. During this period the Pierce County program was ably guided by Nancy Hibbing, a program assistant.

About a year after Coltman took over, Blair Adams (deceased) was hired to replace Gibby in the Area position. Later, when Adams became the Extension Horticulture Specialist at the WWREC in Puyallup, George Pinyuh was hired in 1976 as his replacement and held this position until his retirement in 1994. Cofinnan then concentrated on training Master Gardeners in diagnosis of plant problems and integrated pest management. The Master Gardeners, in turn, assisted in processing the increased volume of plant problem specimens arriving from the expanded number of clinics.

In the meantime, Bernard Wesenberg (deceased), Extension Ornamental Horticulture Specialist at the WWREC, promoted the MG program nationwide and took on a significant coordinating role. Davison, by then State Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Leader and later WWREC Superintendent, promoted the program within administration and was responsible for funding Program Assistants in various counties.

During the long tenure of George Pinyuh as Area Extension Agent (Faculty Excellence Award recipient), the program continued to expand in number of volunteers, number of plant clinics and new volunteer roles. He also established the individual County and State Master Gardener Foundations. The WSU Extension Master Gardener Resource Center at the University of Washington Center for Urban

Horticulture is another Pinyuh accomplishment. He continues to teach MG volunteers and works at demonstration gardens.

Mary Robson, after five years of being a program assistant with Pinyuh, held the Area Extension faculty from 1994 until 2004. She worked closely with Pinyuh to improve program efficacy and establish a good working relationship with the University of Washington.

As time progressed, the program received the credibility and recognition it well deserved.

It is not possible to name all who have made significant contributions to this program over the years. The list includes many faculty members and dedicated program assistants, who started MG programs statewide and deserve much credit.

In order to better manage the urban horticulture educational efforts statewide, a Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator position was funded. Van Bobbitt held this post from 1989 to 1998, attaining excellent results promoting the program around the state and building further support from WSU administration. The position was later held by Rod Tinnemore from 2001 until 2006. In January of 2008, Associate Vice President and Dean of WSU Extension, Linda Kirk Fox created for the first time a state Master Gardener Program Leader position within WSU Extension and appointed Tonie Fitzgerald to provide leadership on a statewide basis.

There are now over 4000 Master Gardener volunteers across the state. They staff plant clinics in 105 communities at 171 locations. Each Master Gardener received approximately 60 hours of training and volunteers a minimum of 50 hours as a community educator in his or her community. They extend the service of the University to more than 500,000 people each year. Some have served actively in the program for more than 20 years.

The horticulture "Master" volunteer concept is so effective that it has spread throughout the United States and several provinces of Canada. It has been adopted by various other disciplines of WSU Extension such as food preservation, animal husbandry and resource conservation, e.g. Master Food Preserver and Safely Advisors, Livestock Advisors, Master Composters, and Beach Watchers

*Ex-Faculty and Faculty Emeritus, WSU Extension, King and Pierce Counties

Master Gardener Level I Registration

Printable version of Master Gardener Registration Form Level 1 (PDF)


The Flathead County Master Gardener Program is an education and service outreach program provided and administered by the Montana State University Extension Program. MSU Extension is an educational resource dedicated to improving the quality of people's lives by providing research-based knowledge to strengthen the social, economic and environmental well-being of families, communities, and agricultural enterprises.


The Flathead County Master Gardener Program requires community service both as a part of levels of training provided and on an ongoing, post-certification process. The following are the minimum requirements for Master Gardener:  


  1. Submit this Application to the Extension Agent for approval
  2. Attend 16 hours of classroom training for Level 1, 16 hours for Level 2 and

3 days of training at MSU in Bozeman for Level 3

  1. Take and pass with 80% a take-home exam for Level 1 and a closed book

exam for Level 2

  1. Volunteer for and maintain a minimum of Extension-approved hours of community

service: Level 1–20 hours of service; Level 2–30 hours and Level 3–40 hours (Level 3 is under the direction of the Extension Agent). You will be responsible for tracking your own hours through the MSU Master Gardener website. After Level 3, the Master Gardener may audit future classes or workshops with the permission of the Extension Agent and/or the instructor(s)




Date of Application______________________________


First Name_______________________________ Last name_____________________________


Home Address__________________________________________________________________


City________________ State_____________ Zip____________


Email______________________________________ Contact phone_______________________


Emergency contact (name and phone)_______________________________________________                                              


  1. Have you applied to a Master Gardener Program before?   Yes_________ No__________ If so, when?____________________   Where?____________________________________________  


  1. Master Gardeners represent MSU Extension Program in their communities. Have you participated in any MSU Extension programs in the past? List the most recent and describe.




  1. How did you learn about the Master Gardener program?



  1. Master Gardener is about improving the quality of life in Montana through volunteerism. Please describe your previous or current volunteer experiences, including non-gardening and gardening experiences.




  1. Describe specific ways you plan to contribute to the Montana Master Gardener Program.   What is your most comfortable venue or audience for public interaction (e.g., writing, phone, email, social media, face-to-face, adults, people with special needs, etc.)?



  1. List the aspects of gardening you especially enjoy. This will help us identify how your knowledge and experience can help us to meet our educational objectives.



  1. Why do you want to become a Master Gardener volunteer?




  1. Do you want to share any other information about yourself for this application?  





All applicants should understand the following:

  • Submission of this Application does not guarantee acceptance into the program.
  • I must donate 20 volunteer hours within the first year after the initial training course to receive certification as a Level 1 Master Gardener; after Level 2 training, I must donate 30 hours and after Level 3, 40 hours.
  • I understand and agree that certain volunteer sites, such as state or federal parks, schools, and the like may require a background check, fingerprinting or other pre-requisites for volunteering at those sites.
  • Payment should not be sent with this Application.  


Payment of the registration fee for Master Gardener Level 1 is due upon acceptance into the program.                   












The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Montana State University and the Montana State University Extension Service prohibit discrimination in all of their programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital and family status.



Mail application to:


Montana State University Extension

1108 S Main Street Ste 4

Kalispell, MT 59901


Questions: 406-758-5553

Master Gardener Scholarship Form

Printable version of Master Gardener Scholarship Form (PDF)

Master Gardener Level I

Scholarship Application





Phone   ____________________________________________________

E-Mail _____________________________________________________


I would like to be considered for a Master Gardener scholarship. My need is:



I can / cannot commit to 20 hours of volunteer service in a horticultural setting to be completed by Sept. 1, 20_______.


I plan to volunteer: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



Sign: ____________________________________________________________________________________________




The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Montana State University and the Montana State University Extension Service prohibit discrimination in all of their programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital and family status.