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Volunteers in the University of Wisconsin Division of Extension Master Gardener Program may apply for the awarded Honored Status. The purpose of this status is to 1) recognize volunteers for their contributions to the program, 2) increase flexibility in annual reporting requirements, and 3) create a uniform recognition status across the state.
To qualify for this award an individual must:
- Complete 10 years OR 1000 hours of service to the Master Gardener Program in Wisconsin as recorded in the online reporting system.
- List significant accomplishments to the local or statewide program. This should include leadership, contributions to projects, or support to other volunteers and Extension staff.
- Complete the application, including the signature from the local Extension staff and the Master Gardener Program staff.
- Be reviewed and approved by statewide Master Gardener Program staff.
- Applications will be accepted only from November 1 through December 31, with decisions awarded before March 31. Applications received outside of this deadline may be misplaced.
Awardees will be recognized with:
- New name badge, with honored designation
- Reporting exemption for volunteer and continuing education activities. You may report less than the required hours for perpetuity. This includes reporting ZERO hours).
- Note: individuals must still complete other requirements of the program, including annual enrollment, the criminal background check, etc.
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. And, this never was a recognized status statewide, leading to increased confusion and frustration regarding membership in the program.
In 2020, the Master Gardener Program tasked a group of volunteers 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 Status to reduce confusion with campus based emeritus status. Applicants must have previously reported a total of 10 years of service OR a minimum of 1000 hours of service in Wisconsin to be eligible.
In addition, applicants must briefly list their accomplishments as a volunteer in the Wisconsin Master Gardener Program. Accomplishments may include your leadership activities, your contributions to projects, and/or your support to volunteers and Extension staff. This can include local, regional, or statewide efforts. All efforts must have occurred in Wisconsin. Your write up should be limited to 500 characters or less, which is approximately the number of characters in this paragraph.
All individuals with previously designated emeritus status at the local level must still complete the application process and meet program requirements. Individuals who are awarded Honored Status may continue to report hours only if they would like.