At the end of 2019, 2,627 Master Gardener Volunteers reported nearly 169,000 hours of community service from 71 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, equivalent to $4,291,000 in the independent sector, according to the annual report of the UW-Extension Master Gardener Program. Since 2001, Wisconsin Master Gardener Volunteers have contributed 1,482,087 hours of community service, equivalent to $65,442,478 in the independent sector.

Master Gardener Volunteers help answer gardening questions, help people grow food, battle invasive plants and protect pollinators, and get people of all ages and abilities active in the garden.

Level 1 Master Gardener Volunteer training is a blended classroom of in-class lecture, discussion, and activities; plus out of class reading and video lectures. Topics covered include an introduction to the plant sciences, soils, and integrated pest management. Participants should be able to answer most gardening questions using the appropriate resources at the end of the training.

In addition to training, requirements include completing and reporting a minimum of 24 hours of volunteerism on locally approved projects; passing a required criminal background check; completing UW-Extension’s mandated reporter training of child abuse and neglect; and signing the UW-Extension volunteer agreement form.

In the Winter/Spring 2020, UW-Extension offices will be offering Master Gardener trainings. Counties offering training include: Crawford, classes begin Feb. 4 and registration runs until Jan. 2, contact Karen Snitker, 608-326-0223; Dane, classes begin Feb. 26, registration until Jan. 25, contact Lisa Johnson, 608-224-3715; Dodge, classes begin Feb. 4, registration until Jan. 17, contact Laure Dei, 920-386-3790; Door, classes begin Jan. 8, registration is open until maximum class size of 12 is reached, contact Annie Deutsch, 920-746-2260; Grant, classes begin Jan. 6, registration until Dec. 10, contact Amanda Cauffman, 608-723-2125; Green, classes begin Jan. 14, registration until Dec. 18, contact Jackie McCarville, 608-328-9440; Portage, classes begin Jan. 28, registration until Jan. 14, contact Ken Schroeder, 715-346-1316; Marquette, classes begin March 5, registration until Dec. 18, contact Lyssa Seefeldt, 608-297-3141; Walworth, classes begin Feb. 6, registration until Jan. 15, contact Julie Hill, 262-741-4958; and Wood, classes begin Jan. 13, registration until Dec. 30, contact Janell Wehr, 715-421-8440.

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