The Master Gardener Program in Washington County started in 2009. Over 196 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 43 certified Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) for 2019.
In 2018, Washington County Master Gardener Volunteers reported 3607 hours of community service, worth a value of over $86,568.
* using the current estimated dollar value of volunteer time in Wisconsin of $24.69 per hour, from Independent Sector.
Answer Gardening Questions at Farm Market
MGVs answered gardening questions from visitors to the the West Bend Farmers Market. In addition to answering questions, MGVs presented 5 different gardening programs on a variety of topics and included hands-on activities for kids and adults alike. Hundreds of people attend the farmers market each week. One MGV noted that “…people looked for our booth on weekends it wasn’t scheduled.”
Engaging the Community in Gardening
Washington County Master Gardener Volunteers maintained several community gardens across the county. At the Germantown community gardens, MGVs taught students how to plant and harvest veggies. The garden at the county fair grounds introduced fair visitors to a variety of garden plants. Activities included identifying which plants contribute to popular food items, a pepper variety trial with information on each variety, a display a on why and how to compost at home, and a tent where the public can “Ask a Master Gardener”. They also had a unique plant that smells just like popcorn. Forty-three volunteers filled 64 volunteer slots to make this year’s fair a success! Overall, 500 pounds of veggies were donated to the Germantown and West Bend Senior Centers. The seniors are incredibly grateful for the free fresh produce.
Provided Education Library
MGVs introduced gardening to kids and adults through a series of gardening classes to the public at the West Bend Library. Sessions included creating miniature garden activities that were filled to capacity with kids and chaperons, as well as lectures on garden maintenance and pests. An additional program on butterflies and insects was presented to a group of adults with special needs, which resulted in a request for more programming from the MGVs. Attendees to all the sessions took home handouts, brochures, and ideas to directly influence their future gardening experiences.
Where you can find activities by MGVs
- Germantown Community Gardens
- West Bend Community Gardens
- Hartford Park Animals in Motion
- West Bend Farmers Market
- Washington County Fair Park
- Plant Health Telephone Hot Line
- West Bend Library Lecture Series
- State Wisconsin MGA Conference