Racine-Kenosha Master Gardeners

Racine-Kenosha MGA (RKMGA) has 190 members, with 28 recently completing certification for a total of 174 certified for 2015, and 33 in training.

In 2014 we volunteered 897 hours in youth education
2,066 hours in community education
6,870 hours in support service
and participated in 3,749 hours in continuing education

Racine-Kenosha MGVs work in a variety of areas, including as plant health advisors, teaching youth, vegetable production/teaching gardens, demonstration gardens, native/natural areas, serving as a consultant to community groups, special event activities, speaker’s bureau, and more. Monthly meetings have a variety of speakers and field trips as well as opportunities to share ideas and experiences.

Major Accomplishments or Projects:racine-kenosha

  1. Inspired All-American Selections (AAS) Garden. Currently there are 8 AAS Display Gardens in Wisconsin. Ours, which is open to the public, is located at the Kenosha Co. Center, the only municipality in Wisconsin to receive this distinction. The gardens are designed and cared for by Jeanne Hilinske-Christensen, Kenosha Co. UW-Extension Consumer Horticulture Educator, and 14 MGVs; they adopted the garden theme of “Inside Out”. The gardens were renovated by adding raised beds as well as common household objects to use in a variety of plantings. The MGVs recycled plastic coat hangers as a trellis, a rattan chair as a planter, and a palette for a small vertical garden. On August 4, an open house event provided an opportunity for the community to experience this very unique display garden. In the fall, AAS recognized this garden as “Best Inspiration” Garden of 2014, noting “Judges just couldn’t let this year go by without giving an extra special shout out to this first-year Display Garden in Kenosha County for their many inspiring garden ideas.” The garden also features new varieties of shrubs and perennial flowers.
  1. Curtis Strange Elementary School Learning Garden. This project, begun in 2010, involves 4th and 5th grade students at this school in Kenosha. MGVs plan and organize classes throughout the school year. Activities include discussion of plants and gardening basics; garden planning and maintenance; starting a worm bin and discussing importance of worms; making seed paper; making newspaper eco-pots for seed starting; making vegetable pizza and salsa; documenting their work with pictures in scrapbooks and posters; and celebrating with their very own watermelon. In addition to vegetables and herbs, this year the students planted strawberries and watermelon. Students harvest the produce to share with their families; produce is also donated to the local food pantry. Some of the raised beds are also ‘adopted’ by families to plant, care for and reap the harvest. MGVs meet with families to help plant and discuss care and maintenance.

Highlighted Project: Therapeutic Horticulture – Green Works

Historically, Green Works has served adults with cognitive disabilities, but in response to the tremendous demand for programming, Green Works has expanded to include teens in high school transition programs, adults with physical disabilities, and now in 2014, veterans. There are 12 MGVs on the core Green Works volunteer team, working in the greenhouse or garden, or doing plant-based sensory craft activities in the classroom. In 2014, Green Works served approximately 60 participants from the Arc of Racine, Lakeside Curative Services, and the Kenosha Achievement Center. On average, each participant received 16 hours of therapeutic horticulture in either vocational exploration and/or sensory activities. This year 24 MGVs also participated in a major garden improvement project at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in Union Grove to provide Green Work’s therapeutic horticulture programming for over 200 Wisconsin veterans.