Wood County Master Gardeners

Wood County had 130 members in our association, including 66 certified for 2015 and 16 students in training this fall.

In 2014 we volunteered 187 hours in youth education
287 hours in community education
5,462 hours in support service
and participated in 1,419 hours in continuing education

Because we are quite spread out geographically, with the major cities of Wisconsin Rapids and Marshfield located on opposite sides of the county with many smaller towns in between, and some members from adjacent counties, meeting locations are rotated throughout the county to help decrease the drive time for most members. Programs this year at the monthly meetings included Correct Gardening Posture presented by a local chiropractor, Climate Change and Gardening, Garden Photography presented by two MGVs who are award-winning photographers, and a final sharing meeting that included members’ garden photos from their own as well as gardens visited this past year. Our Picnic Potluck held in August included Patrick Goggin of the UW-Extension Lakes Program speaking on Gardening with Native Plants in Northern Wisconsin. Garden tours in the summer months included the Wis. Rapids Zoo Gardens projects, gardening along the Highway 10 corridor by a member, and a visit to another member’s dahlia garden with hundreds of varieties in full bloom. We publish a monthly newsletter which includes local topics of interest and happenings around the state. Because Continuing Education is a primary objective for our members, we offer two half-day seminar events each year – one in the spring and one in the fall. Each one usually brings in two speakers with 90-minute presentations.

Major Accomplishments or Projects:

  1. Working with the expertise of the Marshfield Community Access TV station, we produced a half-hour program on our organization for the community. Three segments were included which explained the MGV program, the educational opportunities and other benefits that members gain by volunteering. The production was also shared with the Wis. Rapids and Rome CATV stations.
  2. MGVs who originated and continue to support the Marshfield Area Growing Together Community Gardens were asked to present at Garden Expo in February in Madison. Their expertise and knowledge was very helpful to other communities looking to start a community garden project. Since its inception several years ago, the project has grown to now include 3 sites.
  3. Judges from the America in Bloom organization visited Wis. Rapids this summer where 2 sites were chosen by the mayor to highlight their entry in the annual competition. Two of our community beautification projects were recognized: the Zoo Gardens and the S. Wood Co. Historical Museum.

Highlighted Project: Down the Garden Path, our 15th annual Garden Walk

The annual Garden Walk is our major fundraiser. In the past two MGVs were responsible for making sure this got done. But this year without any co-chairs and many new faces on the committee, we ended up spreading out the responsibility. Our first organizational meeting was spent identifying all the tasks that needed to be coordinated and accomplished and each member of the committee made a commitment to be responsible for one or more activities. This actually seemed to energize the committee as a whole and everyone came through with their commitment. Further, new ideas were shared and incorporated into the project including musicians playing at one of the gardens. For the second year, we featured a local chef who presented two demonstrations of preparing fresh produce from the garden. Another educational aspect was producing a flyer on container gardening which was passed out at a garden that featured more containers than actual in-ground gardens. Each garden also featured a local artist who displayed his own individual talent. We believe this helps draw new viewers to the gardens as well as providing exposure for the artists.