Why do I have to report my hours?
Frequently Asked Questions about Master Gardener online tools
Why do I have to report my volunteer and continuing education hours as a Master Gardener?
The Master Gardener Program is program of University of Minnesota Extension. Under federal law as a land grant university, the University of Minnesota carries the important responsibility for bringing University-based education to Minnesotans through our programs in outreach, teaching and research, and reporting these activities annually to the federal government is required. When you volunteer as a Master Gardener, you are representing the University and therefore, you play an important role in the report from Extension. It is also important for local and county groups to report on Master Gardener activities to their communities and local stakeholders about the important education and service each of you contribute.
When you became a certified University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener you committed to provide a minimum of 25 hours of service educating others each year in order to remain an active Master Gardener. Your status is determined by the hours you submit online by the end of the calendar year to the State Master Gardener database. If you do not report your hours accurately by December 31 of each year, your status as an active Master Gardener automatically converts to inactive status.
As a University of Minnesota Extension volunteer, you are covered by University liability coverage when serving within the scope of the Master Gardener volunteer job description and within the policies and guidelines of the program. You must be listed on the State Master Gardener database as a Master Gardener volunteer in good standing in order to be covered. Reported hours and status on the State database are necessary to document this.
Recognition for hours and years of service certificates and pins are determined by what is reported to the State Master Gardener database.
Why do my hours have to be reported by December 31 or sooner?
Extension must compile an annual report of activities, numbers of contacts, impacts and results to the federal government at the beginning of the calendar year. Therefore, it is crucial to the accuracy of our report that you have your hours entered online by December 31 of each year. The database automatically rolls over to the next calendar; thus, any hours not reported online by December 31 will not count toward our program activity or your status as a Master Gardener in the previous year.
Why can't I just turn in my hours on paper?
The state Master Gardener program does not have the financial or staff resources to do data entry for individual Master Gardener volunteers. Entering hours is a role of individuals and local Master Gardener programs. In most cases, fellow Master Gardeners or local Extension support staff can provide data entry for Master Gardeners with limited or no computer access or experience.