friends@therouge.org | 734-927-4900 | Fax: 734-927-4920

Become a Master Rain Gardener

Friends of the Rouge will next host the Master Rain Gardener Training program in Fall 2021. Stay tuned for details. In the meantime, check out the recorded version linked below.

Sign Up to Receive Updates on the MRG Program

Fall 2020 Course Details:

Time: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Dates: Five Tuesdays, Sept 29, Oct 6, 13, 20, & 27
Location: HYBRID virtual and in-person. All workshops will be conducted virtually, with optional in-person tours (outdoors, masked, socially-distanced) tours of rain gardens in the Southfield area
Cost: $119 Early Bird Rate ($380 value; sliding scale scholarships available, minimum fee of $20)
          $175 for applications received after Sept 21st
Subsidized rates applicable for residents of the 48 Rouge communities, Washtenaw County, Oakland County, or other MRG funding partners
Requirements: Participants must attend all five classes and plant or adopt a rain garden to earn their Master Rain Gardener certificate, garden sign, and t-shirt (yes, there are t-shirts!).
Questions: contact Matthew Bertrand

Press to Apply for Fall 2020 Course

Self-Paced Option

Take the self-paced version of the course, or simply watch the video recordings online. If you build a rain garden on your own after watching the recordings, contact us about getting your certification
Watch Online!

Thanks to our event sponsors

Not available on weekday afternoons? Check out Washtenaw County’s offerings of the Master Rain Gardener course, typically held on weekday mornings in-person or online over the lunch hour.


I love this class! Every gardener should take it for background knowledge. The class is so well organized with visuals and field trips! Meeting more than my expectations.

2018 trainee

I like everything about this class: the way it is taught, field trips, individual help, resources. Matthew and Ian are so knowledgeable.

2018 trainee

About the Master Rain Gardener program

The Master Rain Gardener Training Program began in Washtenaw County in 2010, developed by Susan Bryan, Harry Sheehan, and Shannan Gibb-Randall. Since that time, hundreds of gardeners have earned certification as a Master Rain Gardener and built beautiful rain gardens! Rain Gardens filter and cool stormwater so that our streams and rivers run clean. It is a nonpoint solution for nonpoint source pollution. During class, you will…

  • Design your own rain garden step-by-step
  • Receive friendly encouragement each step of the way from course instructors, past graduates, and fellow students
  • Become your neighborhood’s expert on rain gardens!

Course Instructors

Photo of Matthew Bertrand

Matthew Bertrand, ASLA
Restoration Coordinator | Landscape Designer

Matthew has designed and installed over 60 rain gardens. He earned a Master’s in Landscape Architecture at the University of Michigan. Matthew worked previously for MSU Extension and the Grand Traverse Conservation District helping people get more out of their gardens.

Beth Rowley, Landscape Designer, Atlas Outdoor

Beth Rowley
Landscape Designer, Atlas Outdoor

With nearly 20 years of professional experience, Beth serves as a landscape designer for Atlas Outdoors. An inspiring and knowledgeable speaker, Beth is an Advanced Master Gardener, CGIP certified, Natural Shoreline certified, and trained in green roof design.

Cyndi Ross, Restoration Program Manager

Cynthia Ross
River Restoration Program Manager

Cyndi leads Friends of the Rouge’s Rain Gardens to the Rescue program in partnership with the Sierra Club, as well as Rouge Rescue, which engages thousands of people every year to clean and steward the river. Cyndi has installed 70+ rain gardens and mentored over 80 homeowners planting rain gardens.

This project has been funded in part through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Nonpoint Source Program by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The contents of the document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the EPA or the DEQ, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.