At the end of 2019, 31 Master Gardener Volunteers reported 4,057 hours of volunteer service for an estimated value of $97,376 (Independent Sector). They also reported 476 hours of continuing education and reached an estimated 9,592 individuals with various outreach projects.
Gardening at Rotary Waterfront Park
Master Gardeners planted over 200 annuals and maintained the flower beds for Rotary Waterfront Park in Jefferson, WI. The color scheme of burgundy, white and pink was selected for this year. 8 MGV worked on the project for a total of 221 hours. Funding was received from Rotary, local VFW and the City of Jefferson for mulch and fertilizer. A highlight of this year was a red and white theme done in stripes in front of the VFW monument which received a lot of attention and comments.
Growing Food at Rock River Community Garden & Recycling at Food Pantry
Since 2011, the Jefferson County Master Gardeners have been providing support for the City of Jefferson Community Garden. The garden features 32 in-ground plots, 1 raised bed and 1 elevated raised bed; providing access for any community member to utilize the garden that has limited outdoor gardening space. MGVs work with community gardeners to provide gardening support; some even maintain their own garden plots to demonstrate different gardening methods, serve as a resource and provide leadership for the garden. Educational workshops were also held that focused on starting a garden, planning, planting, composting and putting your garden to rest. The local food pantry is active with the community garden; excess fresh produce is provided to the food pantry. In return, compostable food waste from the food pantry is composted at the garden site. This year Jefferson County Solid Waste Program donated 4 composting bins that were placed throughout the garden to encourage composting of garden waste for all gardeners. The community garden continues to be an asset for the City of Jefferson and its residents.
Hoard Historical Museum
Master Gardeners continued to be very involved in the Hoard Historical Museum in Fort Atkinson, WI through the garden committee, coordinating with the Museum’s Director and Board all gardening activities, including volunteer work and programming. MGVs planned and presented 5 garden educational programs on propagation, farmers markets, peonies, herbal teas and landscape and garden design where around 65 individuals from the general public attended.
Educating Kids at the Green Thumbs Garden Club
Master Gardeners coordinate the Green Thumbs Garden Club at West Elementary School in Jefferson. In 2019, 50 students participated in the club; creating a great challenge to have for the Master Gardener leaders. Members were split into 2 groups, Sprouts and Seedlings, and each group met once a month during the Spring Season. They implemented a successful student led program where 5th grade students who have participated in the program for 2 years were assigned to one of the five groups to help with educating the members about the lesson of the day and assist the MGV volunteers during the meeting. The school garden is highly regarded and successful for both students and parents. It also has a positive influence on the Jefferson School District in bringing students to the district through open enrollment and intradistrict transfers due to the provided opportunity.