Pause to New Volunteer Projects

Effective immediately, we are pausing the start of any new volunteer projects.   Current approved projects may continue during this time.

This decision does not come lightly since we understand the importance of MGV projects and the difference they make in our communities. The merger with UW-Madison has been a time of transition and adjustments. It has led us away from our inception of being a 72 county model to one of being a single statewide program. We have realized the old model led to inconsistencies in how decisions were made, who was responsible for those decisions and resources available to support volunteers and staff. Moving forward, it is important for us to improve the program by bringing clarity and consistency to it for you and for every other MGV across the state. 

We must start creating simple, consistent statewide project guidelines. This is a huge challenge since there are 1,400+ projects happening across the 72 counties. It will take some time and thought to make the statewide project portfolio one where the current passion and creativity of our volunteers can be harnessed in a way that collectively makes a difference across our communities and the state.  Our intention is not to implement more rules, but to clarify them and make them more consistent. Change is always difficult and during the merger and pandemic we all had to stretch and adapt to a very different Master Gardener experience.

We acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our volunteers. By taking this time to reflect on our projects we can plan for a future that is meaningful and enjoyable for volunteers, staff, and partners.

 What does this mean?

  • You will need to work with your local coordinator to determine whether or not an activity/project can occur. This means you’ll need to identify if it’s a “New” or “Existing Approved” project. The information below is meant to serve as guidance only in helping you make that decision (it does not include an exhaustive list of examples). If you have questions please contact your local coordinator or the State Program office.   
  • This is effective as of June 29, 2021 and will continue until a standard policy is in place.

Questions and Answers

Is the specific project or activity in the ORS? 

  • Yes – This means it was a previously approved project and can continue.  If a misc. category needs to be used please consult with your local coordinator or with the State Program office. 
  • No – This means it would be considered a New activity and will be declined.  Please refrain from using a misc. category as a way around the guidance. 

If you already have an approved activity such as garden mentoring or a speaker’s bureau (or similar) and you get another request.

  • This is a previously approved bureau or mentoring program with a specific responsibility. You can continue to honor requests for mentoring and presentations as long as there are available volunteers. May not be applicable in all counties if you did not currently conduct these activities.

If a food pantry, city park, or other non-profit organization reaches out for MGVs to take on a NEW garden activity/project.

  • We will decline this for the time being while we reflect on our current state of projects and determine the best path forward in determining appropriate volunteer activities.

If a partner on a currently approved project wants you to expand your project. e.g.  create a new pollinator garden or maintain an additional bed.

  • We will decline the expansion of any currently approved project. There should be no expansion of long term commitments.

If a partner on a currently approved project asks for one time educational materials or a presentation related to an existing garden.

  • This is allowed.  There can be no expansion of long term commitments to the partner.