At the end of 2019, 33 Master Gardener Volunteers reported 2,455 hours of volunteer service for an estimated value of $58,927 (Independent Sector). They also reported 556 hours of continuing education and reached an estimated 7,945 individuals with various outreach projects.
Bringing the Field Trip to the Classroom with School Backpack Program
MGVs created a Backpack Program for three elementary schools in Beloit and Janesville to bring the field trip experience to the schools. Ten MGVs led four different programs, each one hour, for a total of 140 students. Students learned how to identify birds, trees and different habitats. Students were able to use the supplies in the backpacks, including field guides, identification cards, binoculars, observation logs and tools for measuring and recording. Teachers appreciated being able to give their students a field trip experience without the costs and restrictions of a typical field trip. Students said they would now be able to identify birds that lived around them and were more aware of what lived in their neighborhood trees.
Engaging Students at the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired
MGVs partnered with the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (WCBVI) in Janesville to create educational programs that used their school garden to educate middle and high school aged students during the spring and fall. Six MGVs taught the “What Plants Need to Thrive” and the “Bug House” programs. Through hands-on activities and presentations, students learned about soil types, flower and vegetable seeds, made a seed tape to take home and plant, and planted herbs in the Sensory Garden at their school. In the fall, students learned how pollination works, what a pollinator is and different types of habitats used by insects in the garden. Students also completed a bug house consisting of various plant materials to provide safety and shelter for pollinators and insects in their garden. Students were excited to plant herbs in their school garden in the spring and place their bug house in the garden in the fall. This collaboration between WCBVI and MGVs provided a unique educational opportunity to connect students with varying mobility and visual impairment through very engaging and sensory based lessons and interactions.