Master Gardener Volunteers

What is Master Gardeners?

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 Division of Extension, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who aid Extension staff by helping people in the community better understand horticulture and their environment.

Enrollment Process 2021

Volunteers in the Master Gardener Program are required to “enroll” in the program each year.  This includes activating your account in the Online Reporting System (ORS) and agreeing to the conditions of volunteer service and the volunteer behavior agreement.  If you have not done so already please begin this process soon.

The enrollment process begins January 1 and ends March 31, 2021.  It must be completed in ORS.

Master Gardeners of the North

Master Gardeners of the North association meets the third Tuesday of each month at 6 PM.  We currently are meeting virtually via Zoom.  Membership is $15 per year.  For more information, contact Laurie McGill call at 715-490-1384 or email at lamcgill57@gmail.com

Lakeland Gardeners

Lakeland Gardeners is an association formed for the purpose of promoting garden education, giving to our communities through garden related activities and enjoying fellowship with other gardeners. Our community activities include educational presentations, maintenance of the Seasons of Life hospice garden and sponsorship of the annual Hospice Garden Walk, the proceeds of which support the operation of the hospice garden. No annual garden conference will be held. The club meets the last Wednesday of the month. Location varies and is posted in the Lakeland Times. General membership for Lakeland Gardeners is $10 per year and $15 per year for Master Gardeners.

Certification

To become a certified Master Gardener Volunteer, you must attend designated training sessions, volunteer time to your community equal to the amount of instruction, and pass a final exam. To remain certified, each year you will need to complete 24 hours of volunteer service and 10 hours of continuing education.

Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect Training

Extension staff and Master Gardener Volunteers are required to complete mandatory child abuse and neglect reporter online training. Even though some people may not volunteer with youth, they have the potential to interact with youth. No exceptions. At the end of the training there is an option to print a certificate of completion. This should be printed and turned in to the Oneida County Extension Office to keep on file.

Go to http://wcwpds.wisc.edu/mandatedreporter/ to get started. It should take 30-60 minutes to complete the core of the training, with options to access additional useful information that will add to the training time. This training can be counted as 1 hour (60 minutes) of continuing education.

If you do not have internet access, your local librarian can help you, or you can stop by the Oneida County Extension Office and staff can assist you taking this training.

What Programs Are Offered?

Level 2 training for current Master Gardeners

Level 3 training for current Master Gardeners

Various programs offered at the local level before the general meetings

Who Can Participate?

Any adult (18 years or older) can participate in the Master Gardener Volunteer Program – no previous experience or training is necessary, although many people have some experience.

What You Can Do as a Master Gardener Volunteer?

In exchange for the training, you are asked to volunteer hours equivalent to the number of training hours received for that year. The following programs offer a sample of the opportunities open to Master Gardener Volunteers:

  • Extension demonstration and community gardens
  • County and community fairs
  • Botanical gardens
  • Horticultural workshops and talks
  • Horticultural therapy projects
  • Farmers’ markets
  • Answering telephone inquiries for horticultural information
  • Write newspaper gardening columns
  • Adopt-A-Classroom
  • Volunteer at your county Extension office
  • Local parks or beautification committees
  • Youth groups such as 4-H, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts.

Many Master Gardener Volunteers donate their time beyond the required minimum numbers of hours. They volunteer thousands of hours of horticulture-related community service annually.

History

Cooperative Extension has been helping people solve their agricultural problems since 1913. Extension agents/farm advisors supervised “Victory gardens” during World War I and II and have helped home and community gardeners ever since. Eventually, a voluntary educational program was initiated to teach gardening to people who would then extend the information to others in the community. The first Master Gardener Volunteer Program was started in 1972 in Washington State. Since then, Master Gardener Volunteer Programs have spread to over 45 states and four Canadian provinces, and boasts of more than 45,000 volunteers.

How do I get started?

Click here to get started in becoming a Wisconsin Master Gardener Volunteer.

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