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Extension Master Gardener Volunteers


EMG Gardening Hotline

EMG Gardening Hotline

Extension Master Gardener volunteers staff Horticulture Hotlines at their local Cooperative Extension office. They field gardening questions from folks who walk in, telephone, or email. Questions range from identifying a plant, disease or insect to trouble shooting a plant problem, to providing guidance on what type of plant will do well in a specific location.

Most EMGs say they learn more fielding questions on the phones than in any other aspect of the program. One-on-one service, researching the answers to interesting questions,and the gratification of helping someone personally are all rewarding aspects of being on the hotline team.

Extension Master Gardener Volunteers:
  • Field gardening questions over the phone and from walk-in clients
  • Gather information from the client regarding the plant and the symptoms
  • Provide an answer based on NC Cooperative Extension Guidelines - or refer the question to the Horticulture agent to answer
  • Track question topics
  • Assist with preparation of answers to frequently asked questions

Job Description - Phone Consultant
Using designated forms gather key information from telephone, email and walk-in clients. Use current NC Cooperative Extension research, literature, websites, and reference books to obtain an answer/recommendation or pass the question and information compiled on to the Extension Agent to pursue. Volunteers are not expected to answer commercial horticulture, medical, legal, or household pest problems. You may be expected to track requests and to mail out Extension brochures upon request. Keep the Extension agent informed of current problems and requests.

Desirable Skills:
  • An interest in helping people solve plant problems.
  • Ability to communicate effectively by phone and in person.
  • Horticultural experience in a number of areas.
  • Willingness to accept supervision and to cooperate with other office staff.
  • Ability to read and interpret technical information.
  • Willingness to search for answers when information is not directly at hand.