by MARIANNE DUFFY HOHENNER, Winona County Master

Gardener volunteer leader

Do you have an active interest in gardening? Do you have a desire to share your gardening interest with others? Are you willing to learn more about gardening and other horticultural topics? Are you able to communicate with groups of people or one-on-one with all ages? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have the qualities we look for in the University of Minnesota Extension Winona County Master Gardener program. To learn more about the program go to gardener.

University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners work hard to give back to their communities every year. In 2019, 2,408 certified Extension Master Gardeners volunteered across the state of Minnesota contributing over 140,000 volunteer hours and reached over 195,000 Minnesota residents. These volunteers are extremely dedicated and put in time and effort toward continuing education learning.

If you believe that you have the skills and passion it takes to be an Extension Master Gardener, applications open in early August.

The process for becoming a Master Gardener begins with a core course, which can be taken online or in person. The core course takes approximately 50 hours to complete and costs $295. Financial assistance is available on a case-by-case basis. Speak with the Winona County Master Gardener volunteer leader if this is a barrier to your joining the program. We will be happy to work with you to find a solution that works for all of us. When the Core Course is completed and 50 volunteer hours are recorded, the Winona County group will reimburse interns a significant amount of tuition costs.

As a first-year Master Gardener, you will put in 50 hours of volunteer time. Each year after that, the required amount is just 25 hours. Many volunteers far exceed the required hour amount because they are excited and passionate about the program. The local program leader and fellow volunteers will help you discover volunteer opportunities in the Winona County area. These opportunities may be tailored to your specific areas of interest. 

If you want to learn more about becoming a University of Minnesota Extension Winona County Master Gardener or about the program, contact Marianne Duffy Hohenner, Winona County Master Gardener volunteer leader, at 507-313-5610 or

Applications are now available and may be submitted either online at or dropped off at the Extension office, 225 West Second Street, Winona, no later than October 1, 2021.

We look forward to welcoming new volunteers in 2022.