The Master Gardener Program in Marathon County started in 1995. Over 345 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 58 certified Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) for 2016. The UWEX Educator facilitating the MG Program is Dairy Agent, MGV Advisor and Home Horticulture Advisor Heather Schlesser.
Garden Educates Visitors on Native Plants
MGVs planned a wildflower garden, did the original planting, and continue to maintain the garden at Rib Mountain State Park. The garden features Wisconsin wildflowers with each plant having an identification label and QR code. As flowers change through the growing season, parents have multiple opportunities to show their children what is native to Wisconsin. Over 300,000 park visitors see the highly visible wildflower garden as they enter the park.
Teaching Square Foot Gardening
Spacing seeds and plants in a square foot vegetable garden an be a challenge for kids, but if they use a template and shake organic flour over the template each planting space will be marked with a white dot. Using a template made of plastic helps positioning seeds accurately. Flour in a pint water bottle gives kids easy hands on marking system that can be fun. The template worked great for the special needs children. Templates are cut out of a 4’x8’ sheet of white plastic paneling with appropriately spaced quarter inch holes. Pictures of the vegetables suited for each of the four diﬀerent square foot spacing patterns are taped to the appropriate template.
Residents Get Answers to Gardening Questions
Marathon County residents find answers to their home horticulture questions by asking a MGV at the Garden Clinic or Garden Line. Hundreds of problems are resolved every year. Many questions deal with the trees in the homeowners yard. This year the lily beetle (Lilioceris lilii, that only eats true lilies and fritillaries), was of great concern and many questions were answered about this new invasive pest.
Volunteer Service in 2015
|Youth Education||69 hours|
|Adult Education||676 hours|
Since 2000: 65,624 hours at a value of over $1,174,853
* using the current estimated dollar value of volunteer time in Wisconsin of $22.24 per hour, from Independent Sector. Cumulative value based on previous annual estimates.
Where you can find activities by MGVs in Marathon Co.
- Garden Clinic at the UW Extension
- Garden Line, phone service
- Garden Visions Conference
- Rib Mtn State Park Wildflower Project
- Neighbor to Neighbor Comm. Garden
- Garden of Giving
- Hatley School Garden
- Yawkey House Museum