At the end of 2019, 226 Master Gardener Volunteers reported 13,307 hours of volunteer service for an estimated value of $319,366 (Independent Sector). They also reported 3,239 hours of continuing education and reached an estimated 23,454 individuals with various outreach projects.
Supporting Community Gardens
Twenty-nine community gardens in 9 communities in Dane County (Basco, Brooklyn, Cross Plains, Madison, McFarland, Middleton, Monona, Oregon, Sun Prairie and Verona) were supported by 39 master gardener volunteers. MGVs performed many different tasks in supporting the gardens and providing technical assistance/education to gardeners. Some MGVs on steering committees provided guidance on garden planning, helped with registration and provided advice on technical issues. Others worked as garden mentors with youth or families, giving information on growing various vegetables, identifying and controlling weeds, composting techniques, advice on watering, assistance with plot maintenance and various other activities. MGVs at the Hammersley and Meadowood gardens worked specifically with diverse middle-school age youth teaching gardening techniques.
Educating the Public
Over 30 MGVs have been trained since 2011 to give presentations for library patrons, non-profit community groups, garden clubs and school groups. Three MGV speakers train new MGV speakers on presentation techniques and using the projector/laptop equipment. The Extension Horticulture Educator created 10 scripted talks on popular horticultural topics (such as square-foot/raised bed gardening, healthy houseplants, growing tomatoes, seed-starting, etc.) for the speakers. MGV speakers have also created some talks (scripted or unscripted) on their own that the Educator has approved. New speakers may opt to present with another MGV until they feel confident on their own. This year 297 persons attended 27 talks presented by the Speakers Bureau. Extension tracks evaluation forms. One evaluation question asks what is one new thing learned at the talk. A few responses include “Lots about process and methods of seed saving”, “I learned what crop families are”, and “So much! I’m new to gardening”.
Gardening at Henry Vilas Zoo Support
MGVs work in areas maintaining the gardens, identifying plants with labels, creating educational displays in the gardens and providing support during Dream Night at the Zoo, a closed event for youth patients of UW
Answering Gardening Questions with the Horticulture Helpline at the Extension Dane County Office
In 2019, 31 MGVs specially trained in plant diagnostics and advising clients with gardening questions answered over 400 calls, emails and walk-in queries during the period between mid-April and the end of October.