The Master Gardener Program in Dane County started in 1981. Over 1,715 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 217 certified Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) for 2016. The UWEX Educator facilitating the MG Program is Horticulture Educator Lisa Johnson.
Educating With Farm Tech Days Displays
Our big event of the year was the Dane County Farm Technology Days. MGVs impressed over 45,000 attendees with a large variety of educational displays including heirloom tomatoes, permaculture, straw bale garden, rain garden, composting display, an herb spiral, ornamental grass display and pollinator garden. All were tied thematically to indoor tabletop displays with more information and handouts. Plant Health Advisors staﬀed the booth and helped explain table displays. Many visitors asked gardening questions, viewed the indoor and outdoor displays and went home with great ideas for their gardens.
Making Connections in Youth Gardening
A Youth Garden Symposium was held in September, designed to bring MGVs together with managers and representatives of school gardens, community gardens with a focus on children, and youth gardens. Since youth gardens are a priority for the Dane County Extension oﬃce, the Symposium’s goal was to increase MGV participation in youth gardens by giving them more information about local venues and working with youth. A panel of experts discussed their work in youth gardens, their challenges and successes, along with small group discussions.
Plant Health Advisors Answer Gardening Questions
The Plant Health Advisor (PHA) program in Dane County annually trains MGVs to assist Extension in its educational mission by answering gardening questions from county residents in the UWEX oﬃce and at community events and 5 farmers markets. PHAs answer approximately 1400 telephone and 500 email questions per year. Over 570 contacts were made over the season at the farmers markets.
Volunteer Service in 2015
|Youth education||579 hours|
|Adult education||2026 hours|
Since 2000: 201,577 hours at a value of over $3,648,087
* 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 Dane Co.
- Dane County UWEX Teaching Garden
- Allen Centennial Garden
- West Madison Ag Research Station
- Olbrich Botanical Garden
- Westside Police Station, Madison
- Frank Allis Elementary School
- McFarland School Garden