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Important Information

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Honored Participation Level

What It Means

As a current participant in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension, Master Gardener Program you may apply for the Honored participation level. The purpose of this level is to 1) recognize you for your contributions to the program, 2) increase your flexibility in annual reporting requirements, and 3) create uniform recognition across the state.

Honored participation level means:

  • You will be exempt from reporting volunteer and continuing education activities, meaning you may report less than the required hours with no penalty.  However, we encourage you to report any hours you do conduct.  
  • You must complete ALL other requirements of the program, including accepting and fulfilling the terms and conditions for the program on a yearly basis. (This includes, but is not limited to, the acceptance of any terms in the ORS.)  Failure to do so will result in loss of the Honored participation level.  

To Qualify

To qualify for this participation level you must:

  • Be a current participant in the Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener Program.
  • Have reported hours for a minimum of 10 years OR 1000 hours of service in the Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener Program (as recorded in the online reporting system (ORS) or previous hours reporting system).   
  • Have significant accomplishments as a participant in the Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener Program at the local, regional, or statewide level. This should include leadership, contributions you made to volunteer activities, or support to other Master Gardeners and Extension staff.  
  • Submit the Google Form application in the “To Prepare & Apply” section between November 1, 2022 through January 2, 2023.  The form will not be available outside this time period. 
    • Applications will be reviewed and approved by Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener Program staff with decisions made before March 31, 2023. 

To Prepare & Apply

To prepare, you should have the following items ready:

  • Your name, phone number, address and email address.
  • The number of years you reported hours in the Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener Program. (This is the number of years you have entered hours. You can include the current year. You must subtract any years that you stepped away from the program and/or didn’t report hours. )
  • Number of service hours you reported in the Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener Program (as recorded in the online reporting system (ORS). (This can be found on your landing page in the ORS under Lifetime Hours.)
  • List of your significant accomplishments as a participant in the Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener Program at the local, regional, or statewide level (please limit to 500 characters).

History

Over the decades, many local associations created their own criteria for an “emeritus” status to acknowledge the contributions of  local volunteers. The emeritus criteria was not consistent across counties. This never was recognized by the Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener Program, leading to increased confusion and frustration regarding participation requirements in the program.

In 2020, the Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener Program tasked a group of Master Gardeners to draft a proposed statewide solution. The group reviewed similar recognition strategies in other states. Ours incorporates elements of those models while meeting the requirements of our state’s program. It was named Honored to reduce confusion with campus based emeritus status.

All individuals with previously designated emeritus status at the local association level must still complete the application process to acquire the Honored participation level.

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