New UW-Madison Extension Master Gardener Volunteers Sought to Assist Local Gardeners

Marinette and Oconto Counties are accepting new UW-Madison Extension Master Gardener Volunteers in 2022. If you are interested in learning more about horticulture while helping fellow area residents, the Master Gardener Volunteer program may be a good fit for you.

There are multiple ways to learn more about the MGV program and how it works locally. You can contact Scott Reuss, Agriculture/ Horticulture Agent in the two counties, at either scott.reuss@wisc.edu or 715-732-7510. You can attend a MGV Open House being held at the Harmony Arboretum Demonstration Gardens the evening of Thursday, September 2nd. Or you can contact a member of the Northern Lights MGV Association, made up of MGV’s residing in Marinette, Oconto, and Menominee Counties.

If you decide that the MGV program is right for you, the next step is to enroll in the online course “Foundations in Horticulture-Growing and Caring for Plants in Wisconsin”. This twelve-part course includes online videos, readings, interactive quizzes and scheduled live Q&A webinars with UW Madison horticulture experts to give participants the best information on improving their gardening skills. This virtual class is designed to be self-paced so participants can fit it into their schedules. The course opens September 13 and runs through December 11. This online class is open to all residents of Wisconsin. Class size is limited to 500 participants and registration closes August 13 or when the class is full. The registration fee is $299.

Foundations in Horticulture (FIH) teaches participants university research based methods to successfully grow their plants and manage common pests. The course introduces a decision-making framework that focuses on understanding how plants best grow, why pests and problems happen, and how to keep plant problems from happening. It emphasizes using brain power, common sense, and elbow grease rather than the spray bottle on plants grown inside and out. You really can have healthy plants and a healthy planet at the same time.

The FIH course is divided into three units. The first set of topics are the basics: general gardening, botany, soils and decision-making strategies for pest management. The next set of topics helps participants understand how to identify and manage pests they might encounter. Finally, the last group focuses on specific types of gardening such as vegetables, fruits, lawn and houseplants. As part of the learning experience, FIH participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of UW-Madison horticulture experts at live Q &A webinars. The webinars are scheduled so that each expert will be taking questions about the material currently being covered. The webinars are also an opportunity to ask questions participants may have long had but did not know whom to ask. Q & A with the Experts will be recorded for future viewing in case the live broadcasts are inconvenient with participants’ schedules.

In addition to the Q & A with the Experts, participants receive a complete electronic (PDF) copy of the Foundations in Horticulture training manual. A bound hardcopy of the manual is available at an additional cost. This is a valuable reference tool to have on the bookshelf. Participants will receive a certificate of completion and earn up to four continuing education credits (CEU) for certain professional organizations. For participants wanting a deeper dive into the learning experience, there are optional live lab webinars to reinforce the material covered in the course. These give participants the opportunity to work in large and small groups with Extension educators to answer more in-depth gardening scenarios.

Whether you are a beginner, avid gardener or professional, you and your plants will benefit from this course. For more information and to register for the course, visit https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/foundations-in-horticulture/ . For more information on the Master Gardener Volunteer Program, visit the main website at https://mastergardener.extension.wisc.edu/