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Volunteers are very important to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Yates County. Over 71 individuals currently volunteer their time to a variety of Extension activities!

Through duties as diverse as answering questions on gardening or consumer issues, mentoring young people as they acquire new skills, or serving as board members or on committees that guide our work, volunteers represent Extension's far-reaching roots in our community.

Ongoing opportunities appear below, with contact names for additional information. Some programs may require specialized training to participate; upcoming training dates are listed where known.

Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities

Prospective volunteers complete an application form (.DOC .PDF). In addition, all volunteers will be asked to consent to a criminal background screening at Cooperative Extension's expense, as a means of ensuring the safety and security both of our volunteers and of the people we serve through our programs. 


4-H Youth Development Program seeks 4-H club leaders and event volunteers. Interested adult volunteers would provide activities that inspire and shape youth, give them opportunities to master skills, and/or enrich their knowledge. Hours and commitment flexible, training and ongoing support provided. Background and DMV check required.

Master Gardener

The Master Gardener Program is a national program of trained volunteers who work in partnership with their county Cooperative Extension offices to extend gardening information to the local community. Over 1,500 volunteer Master Gardeners in New York State contribute educational services to meet the outreach mission of Cornell, influencing many thousands of consumers on horticultural issues. Up to their elbows in dirt, Master Gardeners see soil as the base for germination of seeds destined to become beautiful plants, blooming in their maturity. So in turn Master Gardeners have cultivated their involvement in the community with hope of creating an ideal growing medium for Yates County youth.  The Yates County Master Gardeners have expanded their collaboration with the Penn Yan Community Garden. In addition to sponsoring, planting, and maintaining the water quality garden, a Master Gardener volunteer now manages the garden, which has 50 raised beds and 2 handicapped beds for rent.

Master Forest Owner

The Master Forest Owners Volunteer Program provides private forest owners of New York State with the information and encouragement necessary to manage their forest holdings wisely. Our experienced and highly motivated volunteers are available to meet with forest owners in their woodlots to discuss forest owner objectives and how to find the assistance they need. Master Forest Owners (MFOs) have received training from Cornell University's Department of Natural Resources that complements their experience as forest owners.

The New York Forest Owners Association (NYFOA) celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 with the launch of their “Restore New York Woodlands” initiative. This education initiative strived to spread the word that New York’s forests are not regenerating properly. In order to ensure proper regeneration landowners need to be educated on the damage caused by high grading timber harvest practices, the competition of invasive plants and insects, and the adverse impact of a growing deer population. The Yates County Master Forest Owner’s supported this initiative at their annual workshop and woods walk which focused on educating landowners on these forest regeneration threats. 

Other Volunteer Roles

  • Board Member
  • Organization Development
    (advising & assisting with programs)
  • Organizing Events/Activities
  • Resource Development (fundraising)
  • Program Development
  • Marketing the Organization

Last updated August 20, 2014