The Master Gardener Program in Vilas County started in 2010. Over 130 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 13 certified Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) for 2016. The UWEX Educator facilitating the MG Program is Summer Horticulturist/Nutrition Educator Mary Stys.
Getting Vegetables Seeds into the Community
MGVs have had a seed exchange in late winter for the last six years. This year they started a Seed Library housed it in an old card catalog at the Olson Memorial Library in Eagle River. The Seed Library was introduced to the community in March at the usual seed exchange, and in April MGVs answered questions and explained the process of taking & bringing seeds back at the oﬃcial open house of the Seed Library. A display at the local Sustainability Fair a few weeks later further promoted the concept.
MGVs Support Farm to School Program
MGVs are a big part of the volunteer force that has implemented the Farm to School program in our county. Every school in the Northland Pines School District has its own garden with hands-on lessons in the classroom, giving students the opportunity to grow something themselves—making them more likely to try it and to like it. The monthly lunch
‘Tastings’ of locally grown produce/fruits are a hit with students as they can try healthy foods that they might not have had before and may not get at home.
Native Plants Showcased at High School
MGVs, along with the Vilas Co. Land and Water Conservation Dept., planted appropriate native and non-native plant species in the 3000+ square foot Native Plant Demonstration Garden at one of the main entrances to Northland Pines High School to demonstrate to the wider community that native plant species can be used in landscape context. Northland Pines School District Science classes will use this planting to study pollination, plant-insect interactions, and how bird and small mammals use the plants.
Volunteer Service in 2015
|Youth education||116 hours|
|Adult education||119 hours|
|Support services||614 hours|
Since 2010: 12,206 hours at a value of over $220,302
* 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 Vilas Co.
- Northwoods Children’s Museum Garden
- Arbor Vitae comm.y garden newsletter
- City of Eagle River Depot Gardens
- Vilas County Courthouse flower planters and Veteran Memorial flower plantings
- Land o Lakes, Olson Memorial, and Plum Lake Libraries
- Northland Pines Schools