About Hours

MGVs are required to complete a minimum of 24 hours of volunteer service in one or more locally approved projects annually and a minimum of 10 hours of continuing education after the first year in order to be certified.

Keeping a record of your hours and entering them into the Online Reporting System by the deadline each year is very important. Not only do these records allow for recognition of volunteers for their hard work, but they are also invaluable for program evaluation.This provides a record of the many ways MGVs serve the public. Local and state governments, which fund the program, are very interested in how effectively UW-Extension uses tax revenues. Consequently, detailed records benefit both the MG Program and its clients.

Reporting Hours

You will report your volunteer hours in the Online Reporting System. Hours can be entered in the system:

  • on a daily basis
  • as a lump sum total for the year

For specific instructions on how to enter hours, help videos, FAQs about entering hours, and how access your account for the first time, visit Report Your Hours.

The deadline for entering hours is October 1 of every year (or earlier in some counties).

Volunteers who have completed the current CBC should be in the ORS now. If you think you should be in, but can’t find your name, send us a message

For 2019 only: Some volunteers may have started out keeping track of volunteer hours using the soon-to-be-phased-out timesheets. For this reason, timesheets will be available as a resource to you for the rest of the year as a means to jot down hours before entering them into the Online Reporting System. Please note: Hours cannot be submitted officially via timesheets for 2019 and must be entered in the ORS.

Couldn’t Complete All Your Hours?

If you are unable to complete the minimum number of hours for recertification, you can complete a one year exemption request form and submit it to your local county in order to receive MG Program Office communications for the following year. It is expected you will resume normal participation and submit hours the following year. All other requirements (including the CBC and MRT) must be met to be eligible.

If you have been away from the program and want to resume as a volunteer, see “Time Off” under Policies.

What Counts?

The County Coordinator is the final authority on determining what is an approved volunteer project. A general rule of thumb is that the activity must benefit the community (not just an individual). Contact your local county Extension office BEFORE you embark on a project to make sure it is OK as volunteer service! Travel time based on the time a MGV leaves home until returning home, minus personal errands, and preparation and research time can be included in volunteer service hours. (Travel time to CE programs cannot be counted.) See Volunteer Projects for more information.

Continuing Education Hours

Continuing education (CE or professional development) is a way for MGVs to learn more after Level 1 training and keep up with the latest horticultural information. Policies on what counts as CE vary by area. Check with your County Coordinator to be sure of what is acceptable in your county.

CE may include:

  • Horticulture programs at your local meetings
  • Twilight meetings or field days
  • Horticultural seminars at local colleges
  • Lectures at botanical gardens, or presentations by MGVs
  • MG conferences
  • Level 2: Plants Plus Training
  • Online Level 3 Training (advertised seasonally in the Volunteer Vibe)
  • Approved TV programs
  • Wisconsin Horticulture Updates
  • Responding to Horticulture Inquiries
  • Reading articles on this website (if approved by your facilitator)