NC State Extension Publications


  1. Non-discrimination
  2. Definition of Roles
    1. Volunteer Role
      1. Code of Conduct
      2. Answering Questions
        1. Legal opinions
        2. Pest management recommendations
        3. Consumer plant problem diagnosis
        4. Possible poison cases
        5. Product or service endorsement
        6. Working with the public
          1. Record Keeping
          2. Leadership Opportunities
    2. Extension Agent Role
    3. State Coordinator Role
    4. Association Role​
  3. Essential Program Elements
  4. Communication
  5. Recognition
  6. Trademark and Service Mark
    1. Nomenclature
    2. Use of the Title
    3. Logos
  7. Liability, Legal, and Financial
    1. Liability and Workers Compensation Insurance Coverage and Exclusions
    2. Reimbursement for Expenses
    3. Copyright
  8. Participation
    1. Withdrawal or Leave of Absence
    2. Reapplying After Extended Leave of Absence
    3. Transferring from Another County or from Out of State
    4. Termination of Volunteer Services​
  9. Evaluation

A. Non-discrimination

The North Carolina EMGV program is a component of the NC Cooperative Extension Service within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State. As such, it must comply with all federal, state, and local laws concerning non-discrimination with regard to

  • selecting, training, assigning, and evaluating our volunteers; and
  • selecting, funding, and evaluating projects and services.

Extension works to exceed compliance in providing its services to the larger community. While retaining the current core of volunteers, the program seeks to extend recruitment, training, and service efforts to include members of the community who it has not reached in the past.

Because Extension receives both federal and state funds, EMGVs must participate in the collection of contact information to verify compliance with affirmative action laws. Report concerns and evidence of non-compliance to local Extension agents or the NC State University Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity at 919-515-3148.

B. Definition of Roles

1. Volunteer Role

EMGVs work on behalf of and under the supervision of Extension. As agents of the university, they are covered under the university’s liability insurance. This coverage applies only when acting in an official capacity as an EMGV, following the job description, and adhering to Extension policies. To minimize liability and clarify the roles and expectations of EMGVs, role descriptions should delineate expectations and each role should have a one-year appointment with an option to renew at the end of each year. Sample role descriptions are available from the state EMGV coordinator.

a. Code of Conduct

All North Carolina EMGVs agree to comply with the following code of conduct:

  • Perform assigned duties with dignity and pride as representatives of NC State University, follow university and county policies, and work under the supervision of an NC State or NC A&T University employee.
  • Respect and interact in a professional manner with paid staff, volunteers, and clientele. Act as a positive role model, refraining from profanity, harassment, disruptive behavior, or abuse of any kind.
  • Perform assigned duties without financial compensation or worker’s compensation coverage. EMGVs will not accept personal payment for speaking engagements or other activities performed as an EMGV.
  • Provide unbiased, research-based information consistent with NC State University recommendations.
  • Make no recommendations, endorsements, or negative comments about a particular product or place of business. Do not use the EMGV title to conduct commercial or private business.
  • Provide cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical recommendations to clientele so that they can make an informed decision about integrated pest management.
  • Restrict chemical pesticide recommendations to only those in the North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual, recent Extension publications, or pesticide labeling. Encourage clients to read the pesticide labeling themselves rather than providing them with dilution or application recommendations.
  • Restrict answers to within their areas of expertise or training. Do not answer questions concerning household pests, commercial horticulture, herbicide damage, hazardous tree evaluation, medical or legal questions, or determining whether a questionable plant or mushroom is edible.
  • Do not guess at answers. If you cannot find appropriate information in reference materials ask for help from an Extension agent. Qualify answers with phrases like "it sounds like" or "it could be."
  • Submit written materials prepared on behalf of the program (news articles, news releases, newsletters, or leaflets) for review and approval by the Extension agent or the appropriate subject matter Extension specialist or state EMGV coordinator prior to printing.
  • Refer requests for information from commercial entities or reporters to the Extension agent.
  • Do not attempt to identify mushrooms.
  • Refer possible poisoning cases to the Carolina's Poison Center (800-222-1222).
  • Wear your EMGV nametag and include the word “volunteer” in your title when doing volunteer work for Extension.
  • Dress in an appropriate and professional manner suitable for the activity or location. “Office casual” is appropriate for speaking engagements, indoor plant clinics, and schools. Gardening work clothes are appropriate for working in demonstration gardens and some outdoor events.
  • NC State University strives to maintain workplace environments that are well functioning and free from unnecessary distractions and annoyances. As part of that effort, the university requires employees and volunteers to maintain a neat and clean appearance that is appropriate for the workplace setting and for the work being performed. To that end, Extension Agents may determine and enforce guidelines for workplace-appropriate attire and grooming; guidelines may limit natural or artificial scents that could be distracting or disruptive to others.
  • Do not make copies of copyrighted material for distribution without written permission of the copyright owner.
  • Do not sign contracts on behalf of Extension or the EMGV program.
  • Do not display discriminatory behavior (based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, handicap, and sexual orientation) or sexual harassment while volunteering as an EMGV.
  • Refrain from using drugs or alcohol and from possessing a dangerous weapon while on duty.

b. Answering Questions

EMGVs are representatives of Extension, county government, and NC State.

Our clientele is the public. Extension follows non-discriminatory practices and ensures that all programs, activities, and participation is offered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, political beliefs, parental status, receipt of public assistance, or protected genetic information.

It is important to maintain a professional image. Dress according to the type of work being performed. Casual clothes are acceptable in many situations. Wear a name tag when performing duties that involve interaction with the public. Remember, people interpret meaning and attitudes from voice, gestures, facial expressions, and general body language, as well as words. Try to maintain a relaxed, friendly, but professional style.

When dealing with the public, remember there are gardeners of all types; some will have just started, others will be seasoned pros. Their questions are important to them, even if they may seem simple. Remember to choose terms carefully—phrases like diptera insects, plant pathology, and cultivar are useful, but they can become a barrier to understanding if they draw blank looks. Explain things in terms that the client will understand.

Listen carefully to descriptions of plant problems and requests for information. Try to uncover the information needed to make an accurate diagnosis. EMGVs know a great deal about horticulture. The ability to find answers is one of their most important skills. While working at plant clinics or at the Extension center, EMGVs will have access to excellent resource material. Become familiar with books, manuals, departmental leaflets, and Internet resources. Share resources as well as answers.

Extension Center Resources

Many resources are available to EMGVs in the Extension center. In addition to the reference books and gardening magazines, Extension centers stock publications written by agents and specialists. Most of those relating to horticulture have an identification code that begins with two uppercase letters followed by a number. Also, many departments on campus have produced extensive series of leaflets on a variety of topics.

Extension has also been a leader in making educational material available on the Internet. Many Extension publications and departmental leaflets are available online. Review the following websites to find horticulture and EMGV information online:

NC Cooperative Extension Service

NC State Department of Horticultural Science

NC State gardening information

North Carolina EMGV Intranet

North Carolina EMGV website

Use Unbiased, Research-Based Sources

Remember that not everything found on the Internet is research-based and appropriate to North Carolina gardening conditions. Always consider the information source and who prepared it. To limit online searches to information from NC State University, add “” to the search string. For example type aphids in the search box to limit your search to items about aphids from Use “” to search all universities.

EMGVs are limited to giving advice to home gardeners. Requests for information by journalists and horticulture professionals should be referred to the Extension agent. Questions concerning commercial crop and nursery production, municipal parks and trees, pesticide regulation, human health and food safety/preservation, household pests, hazardous tree evaluation, herbicide damage, medical or legal questions, determining if a questionable plant or mushroom is edible, and other topics beyond the scope of home horticulture should be referred to an Extension agent.

  1. Legal opinions. Volunteers are not authorized to provide legal opinions. When asked about a legal opinion or decision, one suggested response is, “As Extension volunteers, we give general gardening advice. We cannot provide legal advice.” Another response regarding pesticides and their use is, “The North Carolina Department of Agriculture is the legal authority in North Carolina for pesticides. We cannot provide legal advice.”
  2. Pest management recommendations. EMGVs are required to provide an integrated pest management approach, which includes information about cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical methods. Recommendations must be made from home and garden sections of relevant current NC State publications, including the North Carolina Extension Gardener Handbook, the North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual or other NC State-approved materials. It is illegal to use or to recommend the use of a pesticide that is inconsistent with the pesticide labeling (label on the product, attached material, and any additional printed material provided by the chemical company). EMGVs should encourage clients to read the pesticide labeling rather than provide application or dilution rates. NC State will provide defense and indemnification for EMGV pest management recommendations only if EMGVs follow published NC State approved recommendations for home garden use.
  3. Consumer plant problem diagnosis. When diagnosing plant problems, volunteers should use language such as, “The problem seems to be caused by…” or, “It appears that a cause of this problem may be…” Supporting documents or publications may be included. Avoid making definitive statements such as, “This is clearly...” or, “I’m sure this was caused by...”
  4. Possible poisoning cases should be referred to the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222).
  5. Product or service endorsement. EMGVs shall not endorse any particular product, business, or service. EMGVs should mention a product by its chemical name and then include products from several companies to clarify the recommendation. For example, if recommending an insecticidal soap, say, “Insecticidal soaps are registered to control this pest. They are found in products such as Nature Guard or Safers Insecticidal Soap, as well as other products.” Alternatively, if recommending an herbicide, say, “Glyphosate is labeled for this weed. It may be found in products such as Roundup or Kleenup, as well as other products.”
  6. Working with the public.
    1. Our role is education, not service.
    2. If a client's problem is beyond the scope of the EMGV’s knowledge with the aid of resource materials, take the person's contact information and then find the answer or see that it is referred to the Extension agent.
    3. EMGVs will occasionally speak with a client who may be having a bad day. Try to maintain an even tone, listen, and present the information as calmly as possible. It can be challenging to communicate or reason with someone who is angry. It is best to maintain a professional demeanor and represent the EMGV program in a positive manner. Do not take negative comments personally. Take the client’s name and number and refer the call to an agent if they are rude.

c. Record Keeping

An accurate record of volunteer service and educational training is a powerful tool in documenting the scope of the EMGV program and demonstrating the many ways EMGVs serve the community. Local and state government officials are interested in their return on investment, and detailed records of hours, programs, the number of people reached, and success stories are valuable for program documentation. Both volunteer work hours and continuing education must be recorded on the EMGV Intranet.

Training and travel hours do not count towards meeting the minimum volunteer work requirement, but they are important to convey EMGVs’ level of commitment and expertise. All hours (work, training, and travel) are to be included in county reports and are counted in volunteer recognition awards. Volunteers may review their recorded hours by visiting the EMGV Intranet.

Volunteer Service Hours. Each North Carolina local program offers a variety of ways to fulfill volunteer service requirements. These opportunities are based on individual county needs. Extension, through the local EMGV program coordinator or Extension agent, determines what qualifies as volunteer service hours. Local faculty or staff may limit the number of hours in certain categories that may count toward meeting the minimum requirements.

Activities that satisfy the following criteria count as service time:

  • Extension consumer horticulture educational programs
  • support an Extension consumer horticulture educational program
  • fall within the scope of Extension’s mission
Examples of EMGV service include involvement in the following activities:
  • plant clinics
  • fielding gardening questions from the public in person,
    over the phone, or via email
  • classes, workshops, and seminars
  • garden tours
  • demonstration gardens
  • exhibits and information booths at public events
  • youth horticulture programs
  • community gardening educational programs
  • mentoring and training new volunteers
  • media (television, radio, or web programs)
  • speakers bureau
  • office assistance
  • therapeutic horticulture
  • newsletter editor
  • fundraising to support program activities

Volunteer hours related to an inter-agency project may count under the following circumstances:

  • Extension is a co-sponsor of the project involved in planning, supervision, and evaluation.
  • The project has an educational objective consistent with Extension’s mission and plan of work.
  • EMGVs are recognized as representatives of Extension and NC State.

Work done for an EMGV Association must comply with the above criteria in order to count for EMGV service hours.

"Manual labor" for non-Extension projects is not an appropriate role for EMGVs.

From time to time, EMGVs may be asked to assist with other Extension programs. As part of the total county team, volunteers are encouraged to assist. However, only a small percentage of total volunteer hours should come from activities that are not related to the consumer horticulture educational program.

Log volunteer and continuing education efforts on on a regular basis, preferably every month. Extension (and sometimes the county) provides recognition for volunteers when they complete 40 hours, 250 hours, 500 hours, 1,000 hours, 2,000 hours, and every additional 1,000 hours of service. Be sure to report your time; you deserve to be recognized for your efforts! In addition, volunteer data is often reported as matching contributions on grants and is submitted to county, state, and national governments as evidence of the value of the EMGV Program. The hours logged provide a record of the many ways EMGVs serve the public. Detailed records of hours, programs, the number of people reached, and success stories are valuable documentation.

d. Leadership Opportunities

Volunteer project coordinators work closely with Extension staff to plan, implement, and evaluate programs. They assume leadership roles helping to recruit, train, and manage EMGVs under the guidance of the local Extension agent. See appendix B for examples of roles that include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • plant clinic coordinator
  • phone duty coordinator
  • speakers bureau coordinator
  • school garden coordinator
  • demonstration garden coordinator
  • 4-H project leader
  • office manager
  • EMGV Management Team member

Agents are encouraged to recruit and train an active EMGV Management team to assist them with program planning, implementation, and evaluation. The Extension agent should provide the Management Team with available resources, current plan of work, Extension’s mission, and other core documents to ensure they make informed recommendations. A Management Team is not a board of directors and does not have the authority to make policy decisions.

2. Extension Agent Role
The Extension agent in each county manages the local EMGV program, providing supervision, guidance, training, and administrative support to the volunteers. Following is a partial list of the agent's responsibilities:

  • Assess program needs.
  • Recruit, screen, select, train, place, supervise, and evaluate EMGVs.
  • Develop volunteer leaders.
  • Compile and report program impacts. Ensure that the EMGV Intranet is an accurate reflection of the volunteer service and continuing education hours for their county. The calendar year is used for reporting purposes.
  • Direct the local EMGV Management Team.
  • Direct volunteer recognition and leadership development.
  • Serve as the faculty advisor and educational liaison to the local EMGV Association (if one exists).
  • Evaluate each volunteer annually (or as needed). This does not have to be a formal conference. Consider the following items:
    • volunteer and continuing education hours logged
    • accomplishments and quality of work
    • ability to provide information in an objective manner
    • cooperation with staff and other volunteers
    • adherence to policies and liability risk
    • leadership development

3. State Coordinator Role

  • Provide training and support to local Extension agents managing EMGV programs.
  • Manage the EMGV Intranet.
  • Manage the EMGV statewide public website.
  • Oversee the EMGV initial training curriculum and support materials.
  • Coordinate statewide training opportunities for EMGVs.
  • Coordinate statewide volunteer recognition.
  • Serve as the faculty advisor and educational liaison to the local EMGV Association.
  • Serve as the faculty advisor to the EMGV Endowment.
  • Manage the state EMGV logo.
  • Manage the state EMGV handbook, policies, and procedures.
  • Direct statewide EMGV management team.

4. Association Role

The North Carolina Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Association (NCEMGVA) and local EMGV Associations are separate organizations partnering with Extension to support the EMGV program. These associations were created to perform the critical tasks of generating funding and advocacy to support Extension programs. They also provide advanced training opportunities for EMGVs. Associations do not provide educational programs for the public or supervise EMGV activities. (See appendix E for more information on associations.)

An EMGV performs research in Mecklenburg County.

An NC State EMGV performs research in Mecklenburg County.

NC Cooperative Extension Service

EMGV in Iredell County.

An NC State EMGV in Iredell County.

NC Cooperative Extension Service

C. Essential Program Elements

Volunteers provide a wealth of ideas for new educational programs. Before deciding to initiate a new EMGV project, or expand an existing one, several key questions should be addressed:

  • Does the program address critical needs/issues in the county?
  • Is it in line with the EMGV purpose and core values?
  • How will potential liability concerns be managed?
  • Will staff be able to train and supervise volunteers for the specific program?
  • What (if any) additional resources/space will be needed?
  • How will the program affect existing horticulture and other Extension programs? (enhance, reduce, no significant effect)
  • Will EMGVs be adequately recognized for their contribution?
  • Are EMGVs excited about the opportunity?
  • Are there other agencies better equipped/positioned to undertake this project?
NC State EMGVs composting in Cumberland County.

NC State EMGVs composting in Cumberland County.

NC Cooperative Extension Service

D. Communications

Penalty Mail. Educational information and announcements regarding volunteer hours, accomplishments, volunteer opportunities, and spotlights on individual EMGVs may be sent out via penalty mail. However, Federal requirements prohibit the inclusion of personal information (birthdays, illness) and association information (minutes, announcement of meeting, officers, and dues). These "restricted items" may be distributed via the internet or via regular postage so long as neither letterhead nor logos for Extension, NC State, or the EMGV program are used.

An NC State EMGV communicates with a client in Wake County.

An NC State EMGV communicates with a client in Wake County.

NC Cooperative Extension Service

E. Recognition

The primary reward for EMGVs is the education received and the satisfaction gained by "Helping gardeners put knowledge to work." Volunteers are recognized for their contributions by personal thank you notes, acknowledgment in group settings, and newsletters. Counties are encouraged to develop a volunteer recognition system, including recognition for the following:

  • class completion (certificate, EMGV Intern name tag)
  • internship completion (certificate, EMGV name tag)
  • 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years of volunteer service (EMGV pins)
  • 250 hours, 500 hours, 1,000 hours, 2,000 hours, and up to 10,000 hours of volunteer service (EMGV pins)

Award-winning NC State EMGV in Onslow County.

Award-winning NC State EMGV in Onslow County.

NC Cooperative Extension Service

F. Trademark and Service Marks

1. Nomenclature

Master Gardener℠ is a registered service mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Extension Master Gardener℠ is a registered service mark of NC State University. The following definitions are associated with the North Carolina EMGV program. Titles and service marks should only be used when volunteering in an EMGV program. An uppercase "sm" should be used in conjunction with each service mark. The "sm" should be a smaller type size than the title and ideally formatted as a superscript. The service mark is only required the first time you use the term in a document or web page.

Extension Master Gardener Student—a person accepted into the program and currently enrolled in training.

Extension Master Gardener Intern—a graduate of the EMGV class who is in the process of completing the first-year volunteer requirement of at least 40 hours of service.

Extension Master Gardener Volunteer—a volunteer who has completed the initial 40-hour training, passed the final exam, completed an additional 40-hour internship, kept up to date on their annual requirement for continuing education and volunteer service, and who is providing horticultural information to the gardening public on behalf of and under the supervision of Extension.

Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Mentor—an active or Emeritus EMGV who is paired with an EMGV student to guide that person into becoming a successful EMGV.

Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Emeritus—an EMGV with a history of outstanding volunteer service who becomes inactive due to personal or family health issues, or other extenuating circumstances, and is granted Emeritus status by the local Extension agent. This designation is entitled to full status in the program and is exempt from the requirement to log hours.

Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Alumnus— an EMGV who has retired from the program.

See Extension publication AG-798, Using the NC State Extension Master Gardener Program Service Marks and Logo for detailed information.

2. Use of the Title

The title "Extension Master Gardener Volunteer" should be used only by individuals trained in an Extension program. The title is valid only when used by an active EMGV who is participating in a program approved by an Extension agent. When an individual ceases to be active in the EMGV program, he or she may no longer use the title “Extension Master Gardener Volunteer.”

The “Extension Master Gardener Volunteer” title should be used only when volunteers are performing unpaid work for Extension. It is inappropriate to seek payment for services conducted as a volunteer. When speaking before groups on horticultural subjects, volunteers may accept unsolicited reimbursements for expenses or gifts.

Volunteers should not display credentials or give the appearance of being an EMGV at a place of business unless that place has been designated as an EMGV Plant Clinic by the local Extension center. The title "Extension Master Gardener Volunteer" should not be used in a manner that implies Extension’s endorsement of any product or place of business.

Volunteers should wear their name badges whenever they are engaged in EMGV activities. They should not wear or use the EMGV title to endorse any product or place of business. (For example, “XYZ Specialty Nursery, EMGVs on staff” or “XYZ Product, recommended by EMGVs,” or “Plant Doctor and EMGV.”)

Volunteers may list their EMGV training and experience as qualifications when applying for a job. However, they may not give the appearance of being a North Carolina EMGV at their place of employment. EMGV certificates should not be displayed outside of the individual's home.

The EMGV program should be presented as a part of Extension. For example, instead of referring to an event as a "Master Gardener plant clinic," the preferred reference is,"The NC Cooperative Extension Service will conduct a plant clinic . . . Extension Master Gardener Volunteers will be on hand to help with your plant questions." The preferred color scheme for all products is red, white, gray, and black.

NC State, Extension, and EMGV logos and letterhead may be used only when conducting official university business that is educational in nature.

Individuals not continuing in the program (or those dismissed from the program) should no longer refer to themselves as an Extension Master Gardener, Master Gardener Volunteer, Master Gardener Intern, Master Gardener Extension Volunteer, or any similar title that could be perceived as being a representative of Extension. In addition, they may no longer wear their EMGV nametag.

3. Logos

Visit the Extension Logo Downloads website to download the official Extension logo and view guidelines for usage, color, background, size, and other considerations in using the Extension logo in print and online materials.

The "Helping Gardeners Put Knowledge to Work"sm slogan is used when providing gardening information to the public. (The slogan is a registered service mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.)

To download the official North Carolina EMGV logo and view guidelines for usage, color, background, size, and other considerations in using the EMGV logo in print and online materials, visit the statewide section of the EMGV intranet.

NC Cooperative Extension logo.

NC Cooperative Extension logo.

North Carolina Extension Master Gardener logo.

North Carolina Extension Master Gardener logo.

G. Liability, Legal, and Financial

1. Liability and Workers Compensation Insurance Coverage and Exclusions

Liability insurance protects an individual or entity against personal financial risk when a claimant alleges that the person or entity is at legal fault for an injury and, therefore, subject to monetary penalties known as damages.

EMGVs work on behalf of and under the supervision of Extension. As agents of the university, EMGVs may be covered under the state's Tort Claim Act, Defense of State Employees Act, and NC State’s Excess Liability. Liability coverage, legal counseling, and possible legal representation apply only when the individual is

  • currently enrolled and is acting in an official capacity as an EMGV;
  • in compliance with NC State, Extension, and EMGV policies and the law;
  • engaged in activities that are planned, approved, and carried out through Extension;
  • following an approved role description;
  • supervised by an NC State or NC A&T University employee;
  • reporting dates and times of EMGV activities on a monthly basis.

Coverage does not extend to other associations or groups that a volunteer may choose to work with or has been authorized to work with. Activities of an EMGV Association are not covered under university or state liability coverage.

The federal Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 does exempt volunteers from some but not all liability for negligent acts. The Act does not provide an exemption for criminal actions. The Act requires a selection and training program and volunteer role descriptions. EMGVs are not eligible for worker's compensation.

Effective risk management methods encourage the proper selection, training, and supervision of volunteers, as does taking corrective action when a volunteer fails to adhere to program policies. As a supervisor of volunteers, the Extension agent may be held accountable for the actions of his or her volunteers. Agents may purchase personal liability insurance to enhance their coverage. Contact the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Personnel Office or NC State University Benefits Office for information.

Agents are encouraged to purchase accident insurance to cover volunteers for field trips and special events. NC State is currently using American Income Life Insurance Company (317-849-5545). Obtain additional information by contacting the company directly, the state 4-H office, NC State University Insurance and Risk Management Office, or the state EMGV coordinator.

It is important that the local Extension agent be kept informed of volunteer activities. It is equally important that volunteers be familiar with the Extension mission and policies.

2. Reimbursement for Expenses

Provided that prior approval has been secured, an EMGV may accept reimbursement for travel and expenses associated with preparing and conducting an educational program. EMGVs may also accept donations to the EMGV program or endowment. However, it is inappropriate to accept personal pay for speaking engagements while using the title of EMGV.

3. Copyright

As a condition for individuals serving and participating as a Master Gardener volunteer in the NC State Extension Master Gardener program, North Carolina State University (NC State) shall own and hold the copyright to any materials, articles, manuscripts, photographs, websites, computer programs, presentations, recordings, or other forms of fixed expression (collectively “materials”) created or developed by volunteers while performing within the scope of their roles, duties, or services as a MGV. NC State will provide proper attribution to the creating volunteer when using the materials. NC State shall grant the creating volunteer a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to the materials for non-commercial uses only.

H. Participation

1. Withdrawal or Leave of Absence

To apply for a temporary leave of absence, volunteers should send a written request to their local EMGV coordinator. Upon approval by the local EMGV coordinator, a leave of absence may be granted for a period of 12 to 24 months. The coordinator shall review this status annually and may require additional training for an EMGV to return to active status.

2. Reapplying after Extended Leave of Absence

If volunteers remain inactive for longer than their pre-approved leave of absence, they need to reapply to their local EMGV program, be retrained in current and regionally relevant home horticulture information, and re-enroll in the program. Payment of all relevant training fees, participation in training, and fulfillment of volunteer service and continuing education hours are required.

3. Transferring from Another County or from Out of State

EMGVs who change residence from one county to another (including from a different state) and want to continue in the EMGV program may be asked by the local Extension program coordinator to do one or more of the following:

  • Obtain a letter of reference from the EMGV program coordinator in their previous county of residence.
  • Attend an orientation session to understand local program policies, activities, and commitments.
  • Attend specific individual or all EMGV training classes, depending on how different the climate and conditions in the new location are from the previous place of residence.
  • Pay county and state fees.

4. Termination of Volunteer Services

A local Extension agent, local Extension director, or the state EMGV coordinator may reassign or dismiss a volunteer for misconduct, failure to perform duties, or failure to follow program policies.

The Extension agent should first seek to discover the facts of a situation and request a meeting with the volunteer and a witness. The volunteer should be given the opportunity to respond. A volunteer may be placed on probation or dismissed depending on the severity of the offense, past volunteer contributions, or indications that the volunteer plans to continue (or discontinue) policy violations or misconduct. The local Extension director, district director, and the state EMGV coordinator should be consulted. The volunteer should be given a written copy of actions taken, and a copy should be placed in the volunteer's file.

Presenting oneself as an EMGV in an unauthorized role or attempting to implement management/policy decisions that are inconsistent or in direct violation of EMGV program policies are considered serious violations. Displays of discriminatory behavior, sexual harassment, use of alcohol or drugs, or possession of a dangerous weapon while volunteering as an EMGV are grounds for immediate dismissal.

NC State EMGVs staffing the help desk in Wake County.

NC State EMGVs staffing the help desk in Wake County.

NC Cooperative Extension Service

I. Evaluation

Along with their local Extension agent, volunteers will evaluate their performance and the support they receive from Extension to ensure their satisfaction and success as well as the benefit to the community.


Extension Specialist, Urban Horticulture
Horticultural Science

Publication date: June 4, 2015

Recommendations for the use of agricultural chemicals are included in this publication as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by NC State University or N.C. A&T State University nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use agricultural chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage regulations and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. For assistance, contact your local N.C. Cooperative Extension county center.

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.