Master Gardener Program in Dane County 2016

The Master Gardener Program in Dane County started in 1981. Over 1,752 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 2043 certified Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) for 2017. The UW-Extension Educator facilitating the MG Program is Horticulture Educator Lisa Johnson.

Volunteer Service in 2016

Youth Education 489 hours
Adult Education 1350 hours
Support 13712 hours
Total 15552 hours

Since 2000: 217,644 hours at a value of over $4,009,149

* using the current estimated dollar value of volunteer time in Wisconsin of $22.48 per hour, from Independent Sector. Cumulative value based on previous annual estimates.

mg-footer-logoWhere you can find activities by MGVs in Dane Co.

  • Olbrich Gardens
  • UW Arboretum
  • Numerous Farmers Markets
  • Allen Centennial Garden
  • Agrace Hospice Care
  • Numerous Community Gardens
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Various School Gardens

Providing Valued Horticulture Information

MGVs with Plant Health Advisor (PHA) training answer gardening questions at six farmers markets throughout Dane County. In 2016 they served 1116 individuals. MGV PHAs also answer phone and email questions from May-October on the Horticulture Helpline. In 2016, they made 589 contacts. Lastly, Speakers Bureau MGVs give approved presentations (designed by MGVs or the Horticulture Educator) to garden clubs, library groups, etc. In 2016, they gave 20 presentations, reaching 193 people.

Outdoor Classroom for Educating About Plants

The Dane County UW-Extension Teaching Garden was developed to serve as an outdoor classroom. It is used for MGV training, public education and youth gardening activities. Plant labels with QR codes link to a blog ( about each plant. Plant research was done by MGVs with oversight by the Horticulture Educator. In 2016, a new model of garden management was introduced, involving teams of MGVs caring for specific areas of the garden. This improved the garden’s appearance, and MGVs learned more from the experience.

Supporting Community Projects

The Madison Area MG Association provided $1500 in grants for community projects. One of the recipients was the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. To give these kids exposure to the good taste and great health benefits of vegetables, BGCDC installed several raised bed gardens. Our grant purchased hardware to help increase productivity: compost bins, tomato cages and trellises. MGVs were involved in designing the gardens and obtaining materials.

volunteers learning about gardening