COVID-19 Updates for the Wisconsin Master Gardener Program

Your health and safety remains our number one priority.

Volunteer hour requirement is suspended until October 1, 2020.  Volunteers may report less than 24 hours of volunteer time to retain certification.   Please report whatever hours you do complete!

The 10 hours of Continuing Education remains in effect.

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and your county health department.

For Master Gardener Volunteers

Attention Master Gardener Volunteers

[Updated on June 10, 2020]

Your patience is greatly appreciated as we respond to the crisis caused by COVID-19.  We have gotten the permission to return to some activities but not all at this time.  

Approved Activities

Master Gardener Volunteers may now engage in and report hours with the following activities. Keep in mind the required conditions:

Activities that can be done virtually from home continue to be allowable:

  • Diagnostics activities: answer garden questions by computer, telephone, webinar.
  • Educational activities: deliver and participate in educational programming via computer, telephone, webinar.
  • Support activities: meetings, social events, limited planning via computer, telephone, webinar.

Approved Outdoor Gardening Activities:

An approval form must be completed, submitted, and approved prior to engaging in gardening activities.

  • Many host organizations (botanical gardens, county and municipal parks, not for profits, health care facilities, etc.) provide the oversight of these gardening activities. Confer with those organizations on additional restrictions that may be in place before resuming activities. Keep in mind bathrooms and tool access may be off limits. This information will be critical for filling out the form.
  • Once the form is completed, please work with your county staff to forward the form to the Area Extension Director for approval.  If you do not have a staff person available in your county, please send to mike.maddox@wisc.edu to initiate the approval process. 

MG Project Approval Form COVID19

After clicking on link, please download the PDF to your computer to properly fill out, save, and send the form.

MG Project Contact Sheet

The Project Contact Sheet is a Google Document template to use to ensure required communication, staggering shifts, and contact lists.  When clicking on the link, you will be prompted to make your own copy of the document to customize.  Sharing instructions are at the end of that document.

Watch the June 15 and June 18, 2020, coaching calls addressing the guidance for returning to no-contact gardening activities

Important:

  • This is for no-contact gardening activities only at this time (planting, weeding, watering, and similar tasks).  This means do NOT engage audiences or groups during these activities.
  • Activities should be planned to ensure 1 person or household per designated garden area at a time.
  • Follow all DHS guidelines for safety in community gardens and the guidelines in the Program Guidance Form. Practice social distancing and frequent hand washing with soap, do not share tools, and disinfect common surfaces. If feasible, stagger times in which people are on site. Wearing a mask is strongly recommended. 
  • Please prioritize community gardens, food donation gardens, and teaching and display gardens projects.
  • [June 22, 2020 Update] Work sessions may be greater than 2 hours.
  • For additional safety:

Guidance for other in-person activities is evolving, so please stay tuned. Until further direction is available, the following face-to-face activities are still not allowable:

  • In-person diagnostics, educational events, or meetings.
  • Plant sales, home garden tours, bus trips.

If unsure if a project is allowable, contact your county coordinator or the state program office.

For Prospective Volunteers

Attention Prospective Volunteer

Due to COVID-19 and the limits this creates for our traditional delivery methods, we are suspending training for the remainder of 2020.  During this time, we are creating an online horticulture program and revamping our Master Gardener Volunteer certification process.

Thank you for your patience and visit us in late 2020 or early 2021 to learn more.