At the end of 2019, 26 Master Gardener Volunteers reported 3,423 hours of volunteer service for an estimated value of $82,163 (Independent Sector). They also reported 623 hours of continuing education and reached an estimated 8,930 individuals with various outreach projects.
Educating the Community with Lawn Chair Learning
Lawn Chair Learning (LCL) was a new, pilot project in 2019. LCL consisted of 6 sessions (one a month during the summer season) and individual MGVs facilitated the different sessions. Across all sessions 84 people participated. As this project is in its infancy, we learned from each session on what to do better and what went well via the surveys that we asked the attendees to complete. Participant comments include::
- I had no prior knowledge of the topic. I found the information very interesting.
- I will now plant more for the butterflies.
- Container garden class was great for those who can’t keep up with weeding!
- I used to think I couldn’t grow anything, but now I know I can.
- Now I know how to water plants the right way.
- The handouts are very good and will be reviewed again at home.
The sessions were popular enough that one attendee submitted an article that was published in the newspaper about how much she enjoyed the classes. And, the Prairie du Chien Parks and Recreation Department approached us on continuing this idea through the winter months. We are calling this winter session “Garden Talk at Hoffman Hall” and it is based on the LCL summer sessions.
We plan on implementing some improvements for next year, including doubling the number of sessions during the summer months and doing more advance advertising. Our MGVs are also presenting their LCL sessions at our monthly membership meetings. This gives them the opportunity to practice their presentation and get constructive feedback from our members.
Responding to Flooding at St. Feriole Memorial Gardens
St. Feriole Memorial Gardens is a 10-acre city-owned garden that the Crawford County MGVs are actively involved in supporting through volunteer hours and fundraisers. This year there was extensive flooding in the garden that lasted well into June with a lot of damage and loss of plants, shrubs and trees. But once the flood waters receded our MGVs, along with the Prairie du Chien Parks and Recreation department and other local volunteers, stepped up to help clean up the mess. The Parks and Recreation spray washed the walkways and other hardscapes. The city repaired the road into the garden. And MGVs volunteered for cleanup and replanting along with donating plants and materials from their own gardens to make the gardens beautiful once again for the public to enjoy.
Educating the Public on Monarch Preservation
Continuing a multi-year project, MGVs took on the task of raising monarchs to be released into the wild in order to educate the public on the importance of monarch butterfly preservation. Over 3000 monarchs were raised and released this year. And one of our MGVs enlisted the help of her teenage daughter not only with the rearing of the monarchs but to help with public presentations. Lessons on raising monarchs were presented at the Crawford County Fair (with over 800 attendees) and 96 monarchs were released, River Crossing Daycare (with 12 children and 4 adults), Little Saints Daycare (with 24 children and 3 adults), Lawn Chair Learning (with 30 adults), Kids in the Garden (a morning and afternoon session with a total of 57 kids and 33 adults) and the 15th Anniversary of Katie’s Garden.
Providing Seeds and Promoting Garden in St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Crawford County MGVs walked in the Prairie du Chien parade and handed out packets of seeds, donated by Walmart and Tractor Supply Company. There were bookmarks with the schedule for Kids in the Garden on one side and Lawn Chair Learning, our new project this year, on the other side. This was the second year that we passed out seed packets and we could hear the children yelling “here come the seed ladies, here come the seed ladies” as we approached. Everyone, adults and children, enjoyed getting a packet of free flower or vegetable seeds. And it was great advertising for our two pet projects.