The Impact of Master Gardener Volunteers

Kids in the gardenThe annual report of the Extension Master Gardener Program documents the activities of volunteers throughout the state in a brief executive summary, provides statistical information on volunteer hours reported in Wisconsin, and includes  narrative reports submitted by county programs.

At the end of 2019, 2627 Master Gardener Volunteers reported nearly 169,000 hours of community service from 71 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, equivalent to $4,291,000 (Independent Sector).

Since 2001, Wisconsin Master Gardener Volunteers have contributed 1,482,087 hours of community service, equivalent to $65,442,478 (Independent Sector).

Statistical Report

In 2019, Extension completed the merger with University of Wisconsin-Madison and implemented a new online reporting system.  The color change from blue to red notes the transition.

Volunteer hours (2001 to 2019)

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Number of Volunteers (2001 to 2019)

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Hours per Volunteer (2001 to 2019)

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MGVs interact with a wide range of audiences, including youth, seniors, individuals with disabilities, the incarcerated, and more. Contacts are recorded as interactions with an individual one or more times in an approved project. This excludes indirect contacts through media and social media.

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Coming soon…

Information on populations (youth, adults, elders, incarcerated, veterans, etc.)

Information on locations (farm markets, schools, Extension office, libraries, etc.)

Information on themes (environment, health & wellbeing, groups & communities)


Pageviews to

  • 1,236,741 pageviews in 2018

Hours watch time on

  • 5,366 hours [1.9 FTE] in 2018
  • 6,225 hours [2.9 FTE] in 2017
  • 3,625 hours [1.8 FTE] in 2016

Likes on

  • 6015 Likes as of December 31, 2018

Executive Summary

Addressing Educational Priorities

image of people gardeningSupporting healthy and safe food systems

  • 34 counties reported Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) being involved in a total of 113 community gardens with over 101,627 pounds of veggies donated.

Protecting valued natural resources

  • 42 counties reported projects to protect pollinators
  • 24 counties reported projects to physically remove invasive species
  • 35 counties reported projects to educate the community about invasive species
  • Invasive species efforts focused on buckthorn (23 counties), garlic mustard (19 counties), purple loosestrife (7 counties), emerald ash borer (9 counties), Japanese beetle (12 counties), gypsy moth (5 counties), and jumping worms (5 counties)

plant saleCreating healthy and vibrant communities

  • 53 counties reported projects at at a library, fairground, municipal building or other public space.
  • 18 counties reported projects at the local botanical garden/arboretum or UW agricultural research station.
  • 26 counties reported MGVs hosted a home garden tour for the public
  • 9 counties reported MGVs hosted a bus trip for the public
  • Other project sites included hospitals and care facilities, schools, places of worship, correctional facilities, environmental centers, and historical sites

Creating stronger economies

  • 7 counties reported projects with a connection to a tourist destination (non-botanical garden)
  • 34 counties reported MGVs hosted a plant sale

Growing Gardeners

Nearly 2000 reported contacts with adults across 24 separate educational events*

  • 31 counties reported MGVs answered questions on Garden Help-Lines (phone, online, walk-in)
  • 36 counties reported MGVs staffed a booth at a county fair
  • 25 counties reported MGVs staffed a booth at farmers market(s)
  • 48 counties reported MGVs hosted workshops, symposia, lecture series for the public

Over 4300 reported contacts with youth across 7 separate educational events*

  • 27 counties reported MGVs provided scholarships
  • 34 counties reported MGVs engaged in school garden programs
  • 34 counties reported MGVs engaged in other kids garden programs (not at schools)

Additional contacts reported with tribal entities, Hispanic families, veterans, people in correctional institutions, residents in senior centers and assisted living centers, individuals with sensory, cognitive, and physical limitations, staff and clients at food pantries, county partners (Aging and Disability Resource Center, parks, land conservation, Department of Health), individuals in alcohol and/or drugs treatment facilities,  and families of low socioeconomic status.

*Most submitted reports did not include number of contacts for events. We feel these are gross underestimates of the contacts made by volunteers

County Narratives

Complete 2017 Annual Report   |  Previous year’s Annual Reports

National impact of Extension Master Gardener Program