Master Gardener Program in Iron County 2016

The Master Gardener Program in Iron County started in 1999. Over 75 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 19 certified Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) for 2017. The UW-Extension Educator facilitating the MG Program is Horticulture Educator Darrin Kimbler.


Volunteer Service in 2016

Youth Education 235 hours
Adult Education 125 hours
Support 494 hours
Total 854 hours

Since 2000: 9783 hours at a value of over $175,536

* using the current estimated dollar value of volunteer time in Wisconsin of $22.48 per hour, from Independent Sector. Cumulative value based on previous annual estimates.

mg-footer-logoWhere you can find activities by MGVs

  • Western Gateway Trail
  • Hurley School Garden
  • Ironwood Pocket Park
  • Iron County Fair
  • Iron Horse Trailhead
  • Iron County Community Garden
  • Iron County Farmers Market
  • Ironwood Depot Park

School Garden Rebuilt for Kids’ Learning

MGVs were instrumental in reinvigorating the Hurley School garden. They built a deer fence around the garden, added and improved the storage capabilities of the garden shed, and mulched between the garden beds. In addition to improving the garden infrastructure, MGVs mentored middle school members of the Garden to Market 4-H club. The club grows produce at the garden and then sells it at the Iron County Farmers Market to raise funds for the club. The program allows the students to develop gardening and entrepreneurial skills.

Helping Students Enhance Bessemer

MGVs coordinated the City of Bessemer, MI planting project. Fifth graders from the Washington School planted a beautiful selection of flowers in 18 flower barrels and three gardens by the historic City Hall. The young gardeners were assisted by MGVs, who helped them with plant selection, planting design and proper planting technique. This was just one of several collaborative planting projects between students and MGVs that improved the curb appeal of our local communities.

Extending Information to the Public

After a long absence, UW-Extension and MSU Extension horticulture educators partnered with MGVs to staff educational booths at the Iron Co., WI and Gogebic Co., MI county fairs. Extension and volunteer educators answered questions on wide ranging horticultural topics from fair attendees. They provided guidance and literature on topics such as: soil testing, composting, and on how to encourage pollinators. These programs greatly increased the visibility of extension in our communities.

Children posing with vegetables they harvested