The Master Gardener Program in Outagamie County started in 1999. Over 490 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 107 certified Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) for 2016. The UWEX Educator facilitating the MG Program is Crops, Soils and Horticulture Agent Kevin Jarek.
MGVs Educate at Fair Booth
Over the past 16 years MGVs have provided education at the annual Outagamie County Fair. This year, the Outagamie County MGA (OCMGA) booth was redesigned to be more open and inviting, with a laptop showcasing the wide variety of MG activities. Homeowners seek out the OCMGA booth because they know they can get research-based answers to their questions. MGVs also had a fun plant identification game for kids, who after participating, selected a flower or vegetable to take home with them. This activity increased children’s knowledge of plant identification, and resulted in more than 700 flowers and vegetables finding a new home.
Including All in Marigold Mile
Known as the “Marigold Mile”, a stretch of South Oneida St in Appleton has a special place in the hearts of Outagamie residents with 8,000 marigolds within a 12-inch strip extending about one mile. It is not the flowers that make the site special however; it is the many disabled adults and volunteers who step up to plant and maintain it each year. MGVs assist individuals with a variety of conditions, such as muscular dystrophy. Items like water wands are adapted to participant’s needs to ensure everyone is involved and feels a sense of accomplishment.
Presentations Extend Knowledge
The OCMGA began “Master Gardener Presents” in 2009 to increase homeowner’s knowledge in areas such as organic gardening, composting, pruning, and more. These weekend courses, taught by MGVs at the Appleton Public Library, have been attended by more than 1,500 residents. Saturdays are now one of the busiest days of the week at the library.
Volunteer Service in 2015
|Youth education||190 hours|
|Adult education||826 hours|
|Support services||9708 hours|
Since 2000: 113,377 hours at a value of over $2,105,903
* using the current estimated dollar value of volunteer time in Wisconsin of $22.24 per hour, from Independent Sector. Cumulative value based on previous annual estimates.
Where you can find activities by MGVs in Outagamie Co.
- OCMGA Garden Walk
- Einstein Middle School Asia Garden
- Columbus School Teaching Garden
- Neighborhood Partners
- Organic Life Seed Testing
- Conservation Field Days
- Goodwill Grows
- Appleton Memorial Park Gardens