At the end of 2019, 43 Master Gardener Volunteers reported 3,310 hours of volunteer service for an estimated value of $79,438 (Independent Sector). They also reported 1,226 hours of continuing education and reached an estimated 8,366 individuals with various outreach projects.
Gardening with Families at Lakeshore Elementary School Garden
Eau Claire County Master Gardener Volunteers worked with 23 first-graders and 12 families to care for the school garden through the summer. The students and families planted a vegetable garden and flower pots. MGVs prepped and planned garden work days and children’s activities. The families and first-graders did a great job at tending the garden and enjoyed the produce they grew. Through gardening, kids not only learn leadership, decision-making and problem-solving skills but they reap the benefits of outdoor exercise and eating freshly grown vegetables.
With this project, MGVs dedicated approximately 50 volunteer hours to help grow gardeners as well as food.
Building Community with “Munch & Learn” Event
MGVs designed and maintained a display garden around the Eau Claire County Extension Office. The space is used to educate office visitors on how to grow various flowers, herbs and vegetables, plus demonstrate several different gardening methods. This summer, MGVs hosted a neighborhood event at the teaching garden that attracted 35 people. They were able to sample many kinds of food prepared by MGVs with the teaching garden produce. Participants learned about the Master Gardener Program as well observed many gardening techniques that allow you to grow your own food even with limited space. Twelve MGVs participated in the planning, food preparation and were present to talk with neighbors and answer questions. Results of this first-time event included good neighbor relations and ideas for what we can do next year to involve more people in the community.
Support Gardening Activities with Annual Plant Sale
The one-day, June plant sale reached a couple hundred customers who not only bought plants but learned from MGVs about the plants they were interested in. About 25 MGVs shared information on jumping worms and worked with customers to answer garden questions and find research-based solutions. The event brought in over $3000, which supports educational events and county-based projects as well as provides scholarships to area students.