Initial Training

Training is required to become a Master Gardener Volunteer. As of fall 2020, what was known as Level 1 Master Gardener Training became two new expanded courses; Foundations in Horticulture and Master Gardener Program Onboarding.

Foundations in Horticulture

Foundations in Horticulture (FIH) is for individuals interested in expanding their Wisconsin horticulture knowledge. This interactive, online course is taught by Extension Educators and includes readings, videos, online discussions, and live webinars. Foundations in Horticulture provides a solid foundation in horticulture and covers topics including plant disease, insect, weed, wildlife pests, woody and herbaceous ornamental plants, vegetables, fruits, and lawns. FIH is an online program supported by the Wisconsin Master Gardener State Program office. As adults learn in many ways and need flexibility, other options for individuals to learn the necessary horticultural content will be available in the post-pandemic world.

  • Registration is closed for the fall 2020 FIH course. To receive information regarding FIH training in 2021, please fill out this Google Form. (If you do not live in Milwaukee or Waukesha counties, please contact the master gardener coordinator or Extension educator in the Wisconsin county where you live.)

Master Gardener Program Onboarding

The Master Gardener Program Onboarding course, to be introduced in January of 2021, will fulfill the requirements to become a certified Master Gardener Volunteer. You must have completed or be enrolled in the FIH course to register for the Master Gardener Program Onboarding course. By participating in the Onboarding course, participants receive an orientation to the Extension Master Gardener program and complete the University requirements to become a master gardener volunteer.  One of the requirements of the Onboarding course is to pass the Master Gardener exam (open book/open notes) that tests basic horticulture knowledge (gained through FIH).

Level 2 Training

Level 2 Training expands upon Level 1 training with more focused horticultural topics. Level 1 training is a prerequisite for all of these courses. SEWMG Level 2 Training courses are in-person and typically offered in early spring.

Previous SEWMG Level 2 Topics

  • 2020 – Trees
  • 2018 – Houseplants
  • 2017 – Trees & Shrubs in Our Landscapes
  • 2016 – Herbaceous Ornamentals
  • 2015 – Gardening with Wildlife

Additionally, the state MG Program Office provides Level 2 training in a series of 5-10 session online programs on specific topics in the spring. Certified MGVs may take the training online from home. Past topics have included horticultural therapy, invasive species, urban forestry, community gardens, flowers, and landscape design.

Continuing Education

Continuing education is provided through a wide variety of programs presented by UWEX horticulturists, as well as trips, speakers, and workshops sponsored by the SouthEast Wisconsin Master Gardeners. 10 hours of continuing education and 24 hours of volunteer service are required each year to maintain Master Gardener certification.

See our Events page for more information on upcoming education sessions.

See our Training Materials page for handouts from previous training sessions.

Please contact Susan Taylor at  or 414-615-0516 with any questions.