The Master Gardener Program in Washburn County started in 1999. Over 158 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 22 certified Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) for 2019.
In 2018, Washburn County Master Gardener Volunteers reported 1866.5 hours of community service, worth a value of over $44,796.
* using the current estimated dollar value of volunteer time in Wisconsin of $24.69 per hour, from Independent Sector.
Educate Public with Garden at Agriculture Research Station
Master Gardener Volunteers contributed significantly to the Spooner Agriculture Research Station Teaching and Display Garden. During the growing season the garden hosted many training events and had visitors from schools, garden clubs, community organizations, and residents of the area. Featured in the garden are organic vegetables, All America Selections flowers and vegetables, and a perennial pollinator display garden. The garden has won national awards from the All-America Selections Landscape Garden Design Contest. The vegetables are donated to local food shelves, schools, and used in meals at County Senior Centers.
Teach Kids How to Garden
Washburn County Master Gardener Volunteers hosted over 50 kids at the Spooner Agriculture Research Station for 5 interactive gardening lessons. Each session consisted of a story walk, a hands-on presentation, a nutritious snack, planting and weeding their raised bed gardens, and refilling the hummingbird feeders. The children have applied their learning to the garden and sampled the vegetables for snacks. The produce that ripened over summer went home with volunteer families or to the food shelf.
MGVs also hosted a Mini Master Gardener Short Course for youth and their families. Kids were instructed on topics titled “secrets of soil” and “incredible edibles, seeds, sprouts and shoots”. Participants also made paper pots to grow tomato transplants to take home. The kids also visited the Spooner Agricultural Research Station gardens to help with the planting.
In another project, a MGV introduced basic scientific research to students from the Spooner Elementary After School Program with the Tomatosphere Project, an activity to grow tomato seeds that were on the international space station. For the seed germination experiment, one packet from earth and one from space to plant were grown by the students. Data from the experiment was reported back to NASA.
Where you can find activities by MGVs
- Spooner Agriculture Research Station
- Teaching and Display Garden
- School Gardens in Spooner
- Spooner Food Pantry Garden
- Spooner Library
- Washburn County Family Fest
- Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary
- Washburn County Fair