Want to Become a Master Gardener?

Annie Christian-Reuter has been the Horticulture Community Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland County for a little over a year. Christian’s office, along with many of her colleague’s offices, are housed in Stony Point in a former Letchworth Village building.

Christian-Reuter lived in and around New York for the last ten years and attended the New York Botanical Garden’s School of Professional Horticulture. She worked for a landscape designer in Brooklyn and as a Fine Gardener in Boston.

We spoke about the Master Gardener Volunteer Program and the many other programs at Cornell.

Master Gardener Volunteer Program

What is the exact process of the Master Gardener Program?

The mission of the program is to provide Rockland County’s youth and adults unbiased gardening information that is based on research and/or reliable experience through a “neighbors-teaching-neighbors” type program.

My office provides potential participants’ with a printed application form. There is a $300 fee for the training programs.

In addition, the applicant will be asked to meet with a staff member of Cornell Cooperative Extension Center for an interview.

Once accepted into the program, the “intern” must attend approximately twenty training classes. They are usually held on Thursdays from 9am to 4pm. This year the training is partnered with the Hudson Valley Master Gardener Program with offices in Middletown, New York.

The program is only offered every two years and it is being held this year. If you are a qualified participant and still wish to fill out an application, we will be viewing applications until August 15th.

The training takes place September through February.

Once an intern completes the training they are asked to donate at least one hundred hours of volunteer time over a two-year period. There are many opportunities to volunteer including teaching classes through the Speaker’s Bureau, working with children, teachers in school and after school programs, assisting in community garden projects, horticulture therapy programs, working in the Cornell offices in Thiells, answering questions at community events and other activities determined by CCE.

What happens after two years?

After two years the interns are officially Master Gardener Volunteers and need to volunteer at least 36 hours a year to keep their status up-to-date.

What other things are happening here at CCE?

There is a horticulture lab run by Michael Wilson. He takes many calls throughout the day and anyone can bring in insects or plants for identification purposes. There is a small fee.


We also have an Eat Smart Program, a 4-H Program, an Environmental Educator, an The Institute for Non-Profits.

What is the School Garden Network?

The School Garden Network (SGN) is Rockland County’s educational resource network for schools with gardens or “growing windowsills” that use garden- based learning activities to support curricular goals. A collaboration of CCE Community Horticulture, Environmental and Youth Development Educators and Master Gardener volunteers, the SGN provides valuable information on teaching subject areas relevant to New York State Curriculum.

What is the Speakers Bureau?
Master Gardener Volunteers as part of their training and volunteerism go out and about and speak about a variety of subjects involved with horticulture.

A few topics are:
Planning and Planting an Herb Garden Landscape Design for the New Homeowner Growing Roses
Pruning Trees and Shrubs
Herbs and their Uses
Gardening with Children
Xeriscape Gardening
Shade Gardening
Taking the Mystery out of Growing Orchids
The Art of Bonsai
Starting Plants from Seed
Decorating with Houseplants
Making New Plants through Propagation
How to Start a Community Garden
How to Start a School Garden & Keep it Growing
Eco-Friendly Landscaping
Organic Gardening

Many presentations can be tailored for your group and the group does not have to be a non-profit.

There are also tours of the gardens here in Thiells. Next tour is August 31 at 1pm.


Please feel free to contact Annie Christian-Reuter with any questions.
10 Patriot Hills Drive Stony Point, NY www.rocklandcce.org