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Dunn County Master Gardeners

Dunn County Master Gardener volunteers planted seven new white mum plants in the Menomonie Veteran’s Garden. Plants were staked up and weeds were pulled in this photo. MGVs make an effort to plant red, white and blue annual and perennial flowers and label with descriptive tags.

The Master Gardener Program in Dunn County was started in 2010.

Over 279 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 16 certified Master Gardener Volunteers for 2019.

The Master Gardener Program is an all-volunteer organization sanctioned by Land Grant institutions in each state and functions as an extension of the college or university. In Wisconsin, the program is sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Extension. Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who aid UW-Extension educators by helping people in the community better understand horticulture and their environment.

Master Gardener Volunteers are people of all types who want to make a difference. They want to use their horticulture skills and knowledge to create positive change in their communities. Whether working with students at afterschool events, providing resources on insect and disease issues, assisting jail inmates with growing produce at the Dunn County Jail Garden or beautifying a public space, Dunn County MGVs take an active role in making things happen in our local community!

Most Dunn County MGVs are members of the Dunn County Master Gardener Association. DCMGA has completed their eighth year as an association, providing education and educational seminars to the community.

Newly elected officers for the upcoming year include: President Sally Schendel, Vice President Betty Verdon, Secretary Laura Cragin, and Treasurer Nancy Schofield. Katie Wantoch, UW-Extension Dunn County Agriculture Agent, advises the association.

2018 MGVs’ report

In 2018, Dunn County MGVs reported 529 hours of community service, worth a value of over $12,708 (using the current estimated dollar of volunteer time in Wisconsin of $24.69 per hour, from Independent Sector).

MGVs provided education to area youth over 35 hours, spent 70 hours educating local community members, and 424 hours in support of other local services in Dunn County. Since 2010, 8,437 hours of volunteer service have been provided at a value of over $208,309!

Master Gardener Volunteers were involved in a variety of projects and organizations in 2018. Below are a few of the highlights shared by members:

Grow food with the incarcerated: Since 2010, Dunn County MGVs have partnered with the county jail in order to engage Huber inmates in growing fresh vegetables for a community food pantry. Over the 8 years, the program has provided over 23,000 pounds of produce to the food pantry, and worked with over 172 Huber inmates who have worked over 2350 hours of restitution.

Educate the public about gardening: Dunn County MGVs provided various educational opportunities for their own continuing education and for the public. Programs included a lecture on hosta propagation and prairie walks. MGVs offered 12 public education programs that garnered an approximate attendance of 70 community members.

Introduce monarch butterflies to the community: MGVs converted a garden plot at the Menomonie Community Garden into Monarch butterfly habitat and reared caterpillars for release. MGVs engaged other gardeners in discussions of pollinator habitat preservation.

Engage fair visitors with plants: MGVs designed and planted containers to be displayed at the Dunn County Fair for past three years as a way to engage fair visitors with plants and gardening information.

Become a MGV

Interested in learning how to better manage your yard or gardens? Are you interested in sharing the knowledge you will gain with others through volunteer activities?

Register now to attend the Level 1 General Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program this spring. The classes are offered on Tuesday evenings and three Saturday mornings during February through April at the Dunn County Community Services Building, 3001 U.S. Hwy 12 East, Menomonie.

Classes will be Tuesday evenings (6 –9 pm) on Feb. 5 and 26; March 5, 12 and 26; and April 2, 9 and 23 at the Dunn County Community Services Building (remodeled Health Care Center), Room 101, 3001 US Hwy. 12 East, Menomonie.

Classes will also be held on Saturday mornings (8:30 a.m.—12:30 p.m.) on Feb. 16, March 2, March 23 and April 13. Locations are to be determined.

A mix of live speakers and hands-on activities will be used. Participants are expected to come to class prepared by reading the manual and watching online lectures. The in-class time will be for students to inquire about the lecture content, test their skills in applying knowledge, and interact with one another.

If you are interested in learning more about the Master Gardener Volunteer Program or the upcoming training, please contact the UW-Extension office at (715) 232-1636 or visit our website https://dunn.uwex.edu/horticulture/master-gardeners/ for more information.

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Wantoch is an agricultural agent specializing in economic development for the Dunn County UW-Extension, Menomonie office. She can be reached at 715-232-1636 or via email katie.wantoch@ces.uwex.edu.

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