The Master Gardener Program in Portage County started in 1991. Over 309 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 34 certified Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) for 2019.
In 2018, Portage County Master Gardener Volunteers reported 2482.5 hours of community service, worth a value of over $59,580.
* using the current estimated dollar value of volunteer time in Wisconsin of $24.69 per hour, from Independent Sector.
Teach Kids to Garden at Youth Facility
Master Gardener volunteers worked with the YMCA Farm to School representative to provide lessons and hands-on gardening experience for four and five year old students during a weekly summer. Students attended brief classroom lessons, planted individual vegetable plots with beans and peas and individual flower plots with petunias and marigolds. The students also helped with larger raised beds planted with other vegetables. Students learned about planning, planting, growing and harvesting vegetables. They were able to sample the vegetables grown in their plots as well as donating excess produce to local hunger prevention programs.
Educate Community on Gardening
MGVs performed a number of educational activities throughout the year. Garden Dreams was an all-day workshop featuring presentations on succulents, daylilies, and maximizing available garden space. A display at the annual Home and Garden Show highlighted information on attracting pollinators, and the July Garden Parade included education about beekeeping, bats, and leaf casting. In total, MGVs reached hundreds of participants.
Host Earth Day Celebration
MGVs participated in the Earth Day Celebration at the Boston School Forest. Students were able to plant vegetable and flower seeds in individual containers and learn about how plants grow and develop. More than 400 people attended this local Earth Day event and students were able to participate in hands-on learning activities to increase their knowledge and awareness of the natural world around them.
Answer Gardening Questions at Farmers Market
MGVs answered gardening questions from visitors to the the local farmers market. In addition, MGVs provided information on current pest issues, including early blight on solanaceous crops. Hundreds of people attend the farmers market each week.
Where you can find activities by MGVs
MGVs in Portage Co.
- UW-Stevens Point Schmeekle Reserve
- Stevens Point YMCA Giving Garden
- Rosholt Fair
- Golden Sands Home and Garden Show
- Portage County libraries
- Stevens Point Farmers Market
- Master Gardener Plant Sale
- Aging and Disability Resource Center