At the end of 2019, 11 Master Gardener Volunteers reported 263 hours of volunteer service for an estimated value of $6,313 (Independent Sector). They also reported 125 hours of continuing education and reached an estimated 305 individuals with various outreach projects.
Gardening at Forts Folle Avoine Historical Park
MGVs maintain multiple garden projects at Forts Folle Avoine Historical Park. To create a welcoming space, native and heirloom gardens surround the visitor center. Vegetables are also grown on site and used as part of a fundraising dinner. To raise additional money for the historical society, MGVs provide education during a plant sale to the public.
Blogging by and for Northern Gardeners
MGVs educate others through online media with blogs and Facebook posts. This past year visits to our web pages have increased by 86% with 2,430 visits. A new feature included a subscription service that sends an email when a new post is available. Blog posts by Burnett County MGVs described beekeeping, tips for seed starting, making maple syrup, highlighted plants such as snap dragons and tomatoes, gave growing tips and event announcements. In all over 5,000 web pages were viewed that provided access to information with a local twist.
Taste Testing at Siren Farmers Market
Two MGVs conducted a melon tasting in September at the Siren Farmers market. The weather was rainy but the market had a good turnout. We were able to get the minimum of 20 testers by the time the conditions worsened to close the market. Testers seemed to enjoy the process of rating the melons and were interested to learn that we were UW Extension Master Gardener Volunteers and that the melons came from the Seed to Kitchen Collaborative, an organic vegetable variety research trial conducted at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station. They were especially interested that these were European varieties that have a short growing season which would make them idea for conditions in Burnett County. Other nearby vendors volunteered to sample and hear more about the research going on to test new melon varieties. The sampling event was a great way to help people hear about and actually experience what the Research Station is doing to benefit the community.
Local Presentations Focus on Herbs
Sixty-eight ladies participated in an event with the theme featuring herbs and included a variety of herbs in the various lunch entrees, door prizes, centerpieces and got to take home seed packets. Another twenty-eight tea loving, history buffs turned out for a garden party at Forts Folle Avoine Historical Park for a presentation on “Herbs: Now and Then” which covered how herbs were used for culinary and medicinal purposes in the past and how the same herbs are used today.