At the end of 2019, 50 Master Gardener Volunteers reported 2,390 hours of volunteer service for an estimated value of $57,351 (Independent Sector). They also reported 939 hours of continuing education and reached an estimated 6,327 individuals with various outreach projects.
Educating the Public with Spring into Gardening
The 13th annual Spring into Gardening (SIG) conference was a wild success, featuring Melinda Meyers as the conference’s first keynote speaker. Over 200 Master Gardeners and gardening enthusiasts from across southeast Wisconsin – and some from Illinois, too – attended her presentation and went on to participate in three additional breakout sessions. In total, attendees had 15 workshops to choose from with topics ranging from jumping worms to growing microgreens to trouble-free tomatoes. Our very own MGVs organized the event and lead many of the workshops, sharing information that they have gathered from Racine and Kenosha County projects. Non-MGV attendees stated in the evaluation that they gained a lot from the event, and MGVs from other counties appreciated learning transferrable skills and knowledge from their peers.
Growing an All-American Selections (AAS) Contest Garden
2019’s AAS contest theme was “Re-purpose, Re-Cycle, Re-Use,” and the Kenosha County MGVs ran with it. Creative ideas overflowed through the garden: a 10’ satellite dish filled with cabbage and a smartly dressed scarecrow named Imogen; a ladder with bread pans on each step, holding herbs and serving as the garden’s “herb pan-tree;” beans growing up ski poles; a mailbox serving as the MGVs’ toolbox. It was so whimsically alluring, visitors were regularly in the garden, taking photos and looking for ideas for their own homes. Many came specifically to see the garden their friends were talking about, not because they had business at the Kenosha County Center, where the garden is located. The MGVs won second place in the contest.
Managing Invasive Species at Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area
Working in partnership with the Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund (CPPF), MVGs are working hard to remove invasive plant species, monitor rare plants, and restore the Chiwaukee prairie, the most intact coastal wetland in southeastern Wisconsin. In 2019, they removed truckloads of buckthorn, honeysuckle, garlic mustard, hawkweed, sweet clover, and many other invasive non-prairie plants. Additionally, MGVs share their knowledge of plant identification, prairie ecology preservation, and proper use of herbicides with other volunteers during workdays and with the public through programs and prairie tours.