The Master Gardener Program in La Crosse County started in 1995. Over 340 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 60 certified Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) for 2016. The UWEX staﬀ member facilitating the MG Program is Vicky Kast.
Riverside International Friendship Garden
Riverside International Friendship Garden, started by MGVs 10 years ago, has been developed with the assistance of many community partners to become a major tourist attraction in Riverside Park along the banks of the Mississippi River in La Crosse. Six diﬀerent garden areas each represent the garden styles, plants and culture of La Crosse’s sister city in the respective country. The latest addition is the Irish Garden, featuring a water wheel and amphitheater.
Kane Street Gardens Produces
Hundreds of gardeners work in this community garden in La Crosse to produce thousands of pounds of produce that is distributed to people needing food assistance. MGVs manage the project; are a resource of information, skills, and basic garden knowledge; and provide education through demonstrations of growing techniques such as permaculture blocks, a lasagna garden featuring a simulated family growing space, a children’s garden, and a rain garden. A hoophouse helps extend the growing season for an increased harvest. This year over 35,000 pounds of food was shared with local food pantries.
Welcoming MGVs for Statewide Conference
The Bluﬀ Country MG Association hosted the 2015 Wisconsin MG Association Annual Conference in La Crosse this summer. La Crosse County MGVs organized the event to provide quality horticulture education—through two keynote addresses and three breakout sessions—and showcase the natural beauty of the 7 Rivers Region in oﬀ-site workshops, including some taught by MGVs, and tours for over 200 participants. They also painted rain barrels for a raffle and silent auction.
Volunteer Service in 2015
|Youth education||366 hours|
|Adult education||224 hours|
|Support services||3876 hours|
Since 2000: 46,835 hours at a value of over $882,433
* 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 La Crosse Co.
- Riverside International Friendship Garden
- Myrick Park
- Kane Street Gardens
- Spring into Gardening annual seminar
- YWCA Adaptive Garden
- Evergreen Garden Club, Holmen
- Earth Fair, Myrick Park
- Onalaska Public Library