The Master Gardener Program in Milwaukee County started in 1997. Over 1705 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 267 certified Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) for 2019. It operates in conjunction with Waukesha County.
In 2018, Milwaukee County Master Gardener Volunteers reported 15046.5 hours of community service, worth a value of over $361,116.
* using the current estimated dollar value of volunteer time in Wisconsin of $24.69 per hour, from Independent Sector.
Introduce Pollinators to the Community
Master Gardener Volunteers introduced the importance of pollinators throughout Milwaukee County. At Lynden Sculpture Garden, adult and youth visitors engaged in a butterfly garden maintained by MGVs. Over 50 caterpillars raised in the garden were used for various educational programs on sight. MGVs also provided resources to the gardens’ staff by providing advice on ways to maintain gardens in a manner friendly to butterflies. At the MGV Zoo Butterfly Habitat Garden at the Milwaukee County Zoo, in addition to maintaining their butterfly habitat garden, MGVs provided pollinator-themed displays and activities during Milwaukee County Zoo’s special event days to educate visitors about butterfly life cycle and habitat.
Educates Viewers at TV Station Garden
MGVs maintain a raised bed and container vegetable garden which includes backyard fruits surrounded by perennial flower garden and vine-covered arbors on the grounds of the Fox 6 television station in Milwaukee. During three, live on-air segments Monday mornings twice a month the garden was featured on Fox 6 (television) Wake-Up News. Fox 6 (television) Wake-Up News reaches thousands of viewers in the metro Milwaukee area. Science-based, recommended gardening practices are shared with their viewers while the show is being filmed at the garden. Topics covered include pollinator gardens, annuals in hanging baskets, shade plants, bulbs, vines , vegetables, composting, mulching, and pest and weed control. 485 pounds of vegetables were harvested from the vegetable garden and donated to a local food pantry.
Educate Plant Sale Visitors
MGVs provided education to over 875 customer at the annual SouthEast Wisconsin Master Gardener Association Plant Sale at the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds. MGVs provided information on a variety of topics including plant selection and maintenance, insect and disease pests, and more. One participant was overheard saying, “it was worth it to stand in the sale line at 6:30am, because MGVs can actually give me plant answers I trust. They aren’t going to try to sell me the wrong plants just to make money.”
Where you can find activities by MGVs
- CMH Healing Garden
- Boerner Botanical Garden
- Fox 6 TV Green Thumb Garden
- Kneeland-Walker House
- Milwaukee County Zoo Gardens
- Ronald McDonald House
- State Fair Park Model Backyard
- North Point Lighthouse garden