Master Gardener Program in Milwaukee County 2016

The Master Gardener Program in Milwaukee County started in 1977. Over 1,084 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 262 certified Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) for 2017.  UW-Extension Consumer Horticulture Agent Sharon Morrisey facilitates the Program.


Volunteer Service in 2016

Youth Education 2380 hours
Adult Education 8546 hours
Support 4879 hours
Total 15,805 hours

Since 2000: 183,755 hours at a value of over $3,398,446

* 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

  • Fox 6 TV Green Thumb Garden
  • West Allis, Fox Point, Greenfield Farmers’ Markets
  • Ronald McDonald House, Wauwatosa
  • Havenwoods State Forest Gardens
  • Firefly Ridge Community Garden
  • Local garden walks
  • Milwaukee County Zoo Heritage Garden

Helping Reduce Exposure to Lead in Soil

MGVs’ played a role in a multi-institution project to reduce exposure to lead in urban backyard gardening. Over two years 19 educational workshops have been held for residents of two target neighborhoods in Milwaukee, with MGVs answering general gardening questions as one of 3 breakout sessions for all participants. Other MGVs conducted garden related activities for children of the participants.

Growing Gardeners Through the S.E.E.D. Initiative

UW-Extension led this county funded community gardening initiative to add 1 million ft2 of gardens in food deserts in Milwaukee. At two of the 8 sites where Extension constructed raised bed gardens for communities, MGVs helped conduct classes on beginning vegetable gardening for residents while they waited for their new beds to be completed. A MGV mentored the gardeners by volunteering there every Saturday to advise, answer questions and demonstrate gardening techniques.

Plant Health Advisors Answer More Inquiries

Revamped plant diagnostic services in 2016 allowed county residents to submit plant inquiries at any time and MGVs to respond whenever and wherever they wanted. As a result more MGVs now serve as PHAs, with many of them doing it without even coming in to the Extension office or the UWEX Horticulture Center at Boerner Botanical Gardens. In 2016, 20 MGVs served as PHAs responding to 576 inquiries which is slightly increased from previous years. We expect next year to be even better with this new system in place.

volunteering demonstrating tools