The Master Gardener Program in Eau Claire County started in 1984. Over 500 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 40 certified Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) for 2019.
In 2018, Eau Claire County Master Gardener Volunteers reported 4165 hours of community service, worth a value of over $99,960.
* using the current estimated dollar value of volunteer time in Wisconsin of $24.69 per hour, from Independent Sector.
Teach Kids to Grow Vegetables
Eau Claire County Master Gardener Volunteers, in conjunction with the local Boys and Girls Club, lead projects to engage community youth in growing vegetables. MGVs partnered with Extension FoodWIse educators to add a nutrition lesson. Each week 20-25 kids participated and they would harvest each day. “It was great to see kids try eating something that they grew themselves,” says MGV. At the end of the program, people in the neighborhood were encouraged to pick any leftover veggies.
Educate Public with Display Gardens
Since 2015, MGVs planted and maintained a display garden around the county Extension office. This space is used to educate office visitors on various flowers, herbs, vegetables, and growing techniques. “Many people pop into the office to ask questions and this garden helps us explain the answers”, says MGV.
Host Statewide Garden Conference
Over the last two years, Eau Claire County Master Gardener Volunteers have lead a multi-county effort to host the statewide Wisconsin Master Gardeners Association annual conference. Hosted in September, it attracted 226 registrants from across the state, and provided continuing education on a large variety of horticulture topics. Revenues from the program support WIMGA grants for MG projects across the state.
Where you can find activities by MGVs
• Beaver Creek Reserve Native Plant Sale
• Schlegelmilch Historic House Gardens
• Lakeshore Elementary School Garden
• Ask a MGV Booth, EC Farmers’ Market
• Youth Gardens
• Eau Claire MGV Newsletter
• Eau Claire MGV Garden Seminar
• Eau Claire County Fair
• Eau Claire Area MGA Plant Sale