At the end of 2019, 43 Master Gardener Volunteers reported 2,674 hours of volunteer service for an estimated value of $64,171 (Independent Sector). They also reported 769 hours of continuing education and reached an estimated 7,285 individuals with various outreach projects.
Answering Questions at the West Bend Farmers Market
Teams of 4 to 6 WCMGVs man two shifts on five monthly Saturday mornings May through September. Each event features a topic: “Ready, Set, Plant”-preparing for the growing season, “Aim High for the Sky”-planting sunflowers with children, “Plant Your Own Succulent”-starting a succulent with children, “What’s Bugging You?”-insects from pollinators to pests, and “So You Want to Be a Master Gardener”-general information and information about Washington County Master Gardeners. MGVs gained 150 volunteer hours and touched approximately 300 people at each market, including 100 children. The booth provided information as Extension handouts and MGV-authored brochures to educate the general public about gardening in the local area. Visitors’ questions were answered, especially regarding issues in their own gardens and yards. New MVGs worked alongside veteran MVGs at each shift.
Educating the Public through Social Media
WCMGVs have been working this year to improve our presence on social media and provide gardening information to a wider audience. Our MG website is under new management, simplified and made more usable and accurate. The WCMG Facebook page posted more information this year. 65 users were added and it now averages 31% who comment on posts. On YouTube, 6 new videos were added: “How to select produce at West Bend Farmers Market”, “Bee Hive”, “Potato Storage”, “Adaptive Gardening Tools”, and “Garlic”. 503 people watched the WCMG videos in 2019 to date. Our Plant Health Advisor Support Line has been totally revamped with a new chairperson, new sign-up system for volunteers, and new and more stream-lined reporting system for phone contacts and the outcomes. This has made answering users questions faster and easier to report.
Providing Fresh Produce to Washington County Senior Centers
WCMGVs can now choose from 3 community gardens to earn hours. The newest is Washington County Extension Community Garden, added to the Germantown and West Bend Community Gardens. A wide variety of vegetables were grown with almost 350 pounds donated to the West Bend Senior Centerand just over 260 pounds donated to the Germantown Senior Center. Approximately 300 volunteer hours were tallied by 45 MGV. Students and teachers from Rockfield Elementary visited the Germantown garden on June 23, July 17 and September 24 for a total of 96 school contacts. An additional 31 pounds of vegetables were harvested from the Washington County Fair gardens and donated to the West Bend Senior Center.
Library Informational Display and Classes
Our library programs have moved from Saturdays April through October to weekdays any month with no lower attendance reported. This year focused on members of the Washington County Memory Cafe (individuals with early-stage dementia and Alzheimers and their caregivers). Two-hour classes were held in both West Bend and Germantown libraries to teach attendees how to plant a teacup garden using succulents. A PowerPoint program provided information and instruction to groups of about 35-40 adults. One class also included 10 children and grandchildren. These classes have opened discussion for 2020 classes about adaptive gardening, common southeastern Wisconsin butterflies and moths, and another class with teacup gardens for the general public. The West Bend Library also hosted a Washington County Master Gardener Volunteers informational table during the month of April. Extension handouts, MGV-authored brochures and library books on gardening were available to patrons.
By the Numbers