Northern Lights Master Gardeners

In 2014 the Northern Lights Association (Marinette County) had 57 members, with 42 recertified for 2015.

In 2014 we volunteered 106 hours in youth education
102 hours in community education
3,367 hours in support service
and participated in 701 hours in continuing education

Northern Lights MGA has a variety of skills and abilities that are called upon during various times of the year. Each member brings something to the association that enhances it. Some are teachers that have devoted their volunteer time to educating their peers and the public. Others have carpentry building skills that have helped demonstrate what can be done within a garden. There are others in the group that could be referred to as the “background” crew who are dedicated to making sure everything is in place prior to an event and always there to clean up after the fun. With all these abilities come together and work as one, there is nothing this group can’t accomplish.

Major Accomplishments or Projects:

  1. 19th Spring Garden Conference. Neil Diboll was the keynote speaker for this event in March that provided an entire day full of horticultural education for the public. Several members of Northern Lights presented horticulture topics and workshops.
  2. Teaching about Plants. NLMGVs provide many educational programs such as teaching students in schools about plants and how they grow, or educating the public at farm markets about the produce they are purchasing. Programs have been offered to local groups about mason bees and MGVs lead prairie walks discussing native plants.
  3. Local Gardens. MGVs spend many hours helping maintain beautiful and educational gardens at various sites including museums and public buildings. They also serve as resources at area community gardens.
  4. Addition to the Children’s Learning Garden. A Boy Scout chose Harmony Arboretum as the site for his Eagle Scout project to benefit the community. He proposed to NLMGA to create a “Pirate Ship” sandbox in the Sensory Garden within the Children’s Learning Garden. Throughout the process NLMGA worked alongside supporting him. This has proven to be a welcomed addition by younger families that are frequenting and spending more time at Harmony.

Highlighted Project: 5th annual Garden Walk

The Garden Walk had the highest attendance since it’s inception five year ago, with 158 visitors to the gardens. The support of 40 NLMGA volunteers made this event possible. MGVs were present at each of the seven garden locations to greet and answer horticulture questions from the visitors. A variety of gardens were on display, two of which were those of NLMGA members. Also included were several rural properties and an example of what can be accomplished in a city lot. A large scale vegetable garden was showcased in addition to two public gardens, Harmony Arboretum and one at a local church. This walk inspires gardeners and connects people with the local MGVs as an important resource of the UW- Extension. A portion of the proceeds was donated to the local Volunteer Center and the remaining funds are allocated for educational programming.