There are several programs where you can be an extension volunteer for youth and adult activities. These programs cover home gardening (through the Texas Master Gardener program,) youth education (through 4-H,) health, nutrition, and wellness (through Family & Consumer Sciences.) All of these programs allow you to be an extension volunteer out in the community and are great ways to meet and help others.
Travis County Master Gardener Program
Travis County Master Gardeners are members of the local community actively interested in gardening who receive special horticultural training. In exchange for their training, they choose to be an extension volunteer to help educate Austin residents on sustainable gardening practices. They are enthusiastic, love to help others, have a life-long commitment to learning, and are able to communicate with diverse groups of people. For more information about Travis County Master Gardeners, please visit Master Gardener Expert Advice
Training: To become accepted into the Master Gardener program you will attend a Master Gardener training course. Classes are taught by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension specialists & agents, and local experts. Find out when the next course is offered and sign up for an email notification here.
The program offers a minimum of 50 hours of instruction that covers topics including lawn care, ornamental trees and shrubs, insect, disease, and weed management; soils and plant nutrition, vegetable gardening; home fruit production; garden flowers; Earth-Kind® landscaping practices, and water conservation.
Volunteer Commitment: In exchange for training, participants are asked to volunteer time to their County Extension program. At least 50 hours of volunteer service within one year following the training is required to earn the title of Texas Master Gardener.
Certification: Participants become certified Travis County Master Gardeners after they have completed the training course and fulfilled their volunteer commitment.
4-H Volunteer Opportunities
Travis County 4-H
4-H offers a variety of programs, activities and events designed specifically to support and enhance volunteer participation and involvement in kids’ live through sharing of your skills, knowledge and talents. The 4-H Youth Development program is committed to helping create safe environments for young people to learn, have fun and develop socially and works to ensure that the adults we entrust to work with young people only have the best interests of youth at heart. If you are considering volunteering to lead a 4-H group in your community, local school or lead a project group, please contact Kyle Hammel or Julissa Smith at 512-854-9600.
Cooperative Extension Program (CEP) 4-H: The Travis County 4-H CEP program seeks adults and youths who want to serve as volunteers for the 4-H Program. 4-H is a youth development organization that teaches leadership and life skills to youths ages 8-18. A team of dedicated volunteers will be critical to successfully reach our goal as we strive to charter new 4-H clubs in Travis County. There are a wide variety of roles for volunteers in the 4-H program. Volunteers can judge a 4-H contest, serve on an advisory committee, or work with youths in a specific project area. For more information and instructions on how to become a volunteer, please contact Nathan Tucker at 512-854-9600.
4-H CAPITAL/AmeriCorps: Interested in a long term service commitment? Consider becoming a 4-H CAPITAL AmeriCorps Member! 4-H CAPITAL AmeriCorps Members are based out of the AgriLife Extension Office and serve their community by leading hands-on science activities in after school programs in elementary school throughout Austin and the surrounding area. Serving as an AmeriCorps Member requires a commitment of 10 – 11 months, during this time you will earn a small living stipend and an education award. For more information about the program and instructions on how to apply, click here.
Family & Consumer Sciences Volunteer Opportunities
Master Wellness Volunteer program provides volunteers with 40 hours of training in health and nutrition education. In return, the volunteers agree to give back 40 hours of service. The volunteer opportunities are diverse – giving presentations for local community groups, assisting with periodic cooking schools, distributing information at health fairs, and much more. Previous health or wellness training is not required, but an interest in living healthfully and helping others do the same is. For more information, contact Sonia Coyle by phone 512-854-9600 or email.
The Cooperative Extension Program, Prairie View A&M University, Family and Consumer Sciences is looking for a group of volunteers to teach health and wellness programs focusing on the current health epidemic — obesity.
Training opportunities are available to individuals interested in giving back to the community. If you are a member of a faith based organization, community group, or have available time to train and conduct classes, we’re looking for you. Training will certify you to teach classes focusing on obesity to your community group. All training and materials are free. For more information, contact Dr. Crystal Wiltz by phone at 512-854-9600 or email.
The members of Texas A&M AgriLife will provide equal opportunities in programs and activities, education, and employment to all persons regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Texas A&M University System, the U. S. Department of Agriculture and the County Commissioners’ Court of Texas cooperating.
Persons with disabilities who plan to attend a meeting and who may need auxiliary aids or services are required to contact Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service-Travis County at 512-854-9600 ten working days prior to the meeting so appropriate arrangements can be made.