Manitoba Master Gardener Practicum
What is a Practicum?
To be certified as a Master Gardener in Manitoba requires completion of Horticultural Theory Basic Training Courses and a practical community volunteer service Practicum of 40 hours. The Practicum is volunteer service that provides a guided practical application of gardening theory and knowledge.
The Manitoba Master Gardeners Association has established the Manitoba Practicum Guidelines for the type of volunteer activities that can be included in the Practicum and approves the Practicum hours to be used for certification.
How the Practicum Prepares You to Be a Master Gardener
Being a Master Gardener involves more than a love of gardening plus practical gardening experience. Master Gardeners have both an educational and a service role in their communities. As volunteers, they provide advice to other gardeners; give presentations; lead community projects and are themselves committed to continuous learning. They promote proven, sustainable, and ecologically sound gardening practices. Significantly, they have earned an internationally recognized horticultural designation.
The Practicum is a form of advanced learning. Selecting your Practicum volunteer activities carefully will give you opportunities to:
1. Apply and test the theory from your basic horticultural training courses and your previous knowledge
2. Boost your awareness of and confidence in fulfilling the role of a Master Gardener
3. Get a feel for the gardening environment and/or specific practices in Manitoba
4. Build networks with other gardeners, gardening organizations and the general public
5. Encourage the general public to implement sustainable , proven gardening practices in Manitoba
How to Register for Your Master Gardener Practicum
Register for the Manitoba Master Gardener Certification Program course online:
After you have registered for this course, the MMGA Volunteer Director will contact you by email to provide detailed information on how to begin your Practicum.
What qualifies as Approved Practicum Hours
Approved Practicum hours must meet the following criteria:
1. Hours must benefit the community
You are required to volunteer within a horticultural based non-profit organization or community project. For-Profit organizations’ projects will not qualify as Practicum Volunteer Hours.
2. Hours must focus on gardening education for the community
Educational volunteers activities that promote gardening in the broader community should make up at least 50% of the Practicum volunteer hours. Examples of approved educational activities include: gardening presentations or workshops, responding to public inquiries, researching and writing articles, serving on Committees or Boards of Horticultural organizations.
3. Hours should also include hands-on community gardening projects
Other hours may be of a more hands on volunteer experience such as – working with others to develop special new public gardens, helping with community food growing gardens, or working on established public gardens.
4. Hours must be volunteer – not paid work
Volunteer Practicum hours must be non-paying. Reimbursement from the sponsoring organization for expenses incurred to carry out volunteer activities may be considered with prior approval by the MMGA
5. Diversity of Volunteer Experience
The best Practicum experience occurs when you plan to involve a variety of experiences that fill in the gaps in your personal background or assist you in pursuing areas of particular interest
Examples of Acceptable Practicum Volunteer Hours
1. Assisting Master Gardeners with their projects such as community flower and vegetable gardens, community pollinator gardens, healing gardens, gardens, and other demonstration gardens;
2. Volunteering at MMGA sponsored events and fundraisers;
3. Volunteering within local garden clubs/horticultural societies or other horticultural organizations to support gardening related events such as Gardening Saturday, Seedy Saturday, Plant Sales, gardening fundraisers, special speaker events, gardening trade shows, recycle sales;
4. Speaking to the public and local community groups throughout Manitoba about gardening topics and to promote the MMGA; responding to gardening questions at gardening events or other community events;
5. Participating in a variety of community projects including horticultural therapy programs in hospitals and other health care institutions;
6. Volunteering with teachers in local schools to teach students about gardening, growing food, setting up garden structures;
7. Designing, planting and continuing to assist with community gardens in public places such as schools, hospitals, parks, personal care homes, community centres;
8. Writing articles for the MMGA newsletter, local newspapers, magazines and garden club newsletters;
9. Developing and delivering educational seminars, presentations, workshops or demonstrations for community groups. Delivering presentations within Study Groups can be a key to learning and honing presentation skills and for the development of topics that could be presented to the public;
10. Providing information via garden hot lines/forums, responding to questions on MMGA Ask@,and other information providing forums;
11. Serving on Boards and Committees of MMGA or other local horticultural groups or serving on committees that are developing community-based gardening or horticultural projects.
Approval of Practicum Hours
The MMGA must approve Practicum Hours prior to Master Gardener certification. When Practicum Volunteer Hours are clearly in line with the MMGA guideline of approved criteria for Practicum hours and are one of the examples of acceptable hours noted above, the volunteer Practicum activity should be readily approved.
NOTE: If there are volunteer opportunities that are outside the MMGA Guideline for approved hours that you would like to participate in, contact the MMGA Volunteer Director before you begin the activity to request approval: email@example.com
Tracking and submission of Practicum Volunteer Hours
A downloadable MMGA Volunteer Hour Log Form to record the details of completed volunteer hours and to get validating signatures from a Master Gardener or other Project Manager is available from the MMGA website:
DOWNLOAD VOLUNTEER HOURS LOG SHEET (.pdf)
PROCESS: When you have finished each activity, have your volunteer hours validated by getting the signature of the project manager, and include a brief description of the work performed and the number of hours completed.
Once you have completed the entire 40 hours required for your Practicum, submit a digital photo of the completed form to the Volunteer Impact Administrator— firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep a copy of the completed form for your records.
Timing of your Practicum
1. You may complete your Practicum while you are taking your Horticultural Basic Training Courses online or after you finish your courses.
2. You have a period of 2 years after registration to complete your Practicum.
3. You must complete your Practicum volunteer service, and have the completed Practicum Hours approved by the MMGA, before you take your Master Gardener Examination.