Our Mission:

The Rock Prairie Master Gardener Association, located in Rock County, Wisconsin, is the 42nd association of the Wisconsin Master Gardener Program.

This blog is used to distribute timely information to association members regarding volunteer opportunities, MGV highlights, and other social tid bits.

Horticulture related information is to be directed to the Horticulture Educator or the Plant Health Advisors.

This blog is not for garden related questions.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The history of the Wisconsin Master Gardeners Association

In Wisconsin, Dr. Helen Harrison, Professor at UW-Madison brought the MG Program to the state. She worked with Dr. Bob Tomesh, Professor at UW-River Falls to make the program a reality.

Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties started their program in 1977 (Southeast Wisconsin). Brown County began in 1979 (Northeast Wisconsin), Dane County (Madison Area) in 1981, the Fox Valley Area in 1986 and Portage Co. in 1990. Other areas around the state have continued to develop their own programs.

In July 1999 a new position of MG Program Coordinator was established by UW-Extension with encouragement from WIMGA to address growing needs throughout the state. Susan Mahr was selected to work with the Program and coordinate closely with the WIMGA.

In October 2002 the Board was restructured because the Board was getting too large to operate efficiently with a representative from each local association. The state was divided into six districts, conforming to existing UW-Extension districts, with 2 District Directors from each district and three At-Large positions providing representation for all MGVs. One representative from each local association receives information from the Board to relay to their local association and vice versa. They and Board members participate on various standing committees.

There are many local MG associations that belong to the WIMGA. There are also active MGVs who are individual members of the WIMGA but do not yet have a local association in their area. There are also some active MG groups and individuals in WI who are not yet members of the WIMGA.

The original Extension Master Gardener Program was created in Washington State as a way to help Extension handle all the horticultural questions being asked by the public. In exchange for educational training by Extension, MGVs returned volunteer hours to Extension for horticultural outreach.

The WIMGA was formed in 1992 by MGVs from around the state as a result of a statewide meeting held in Stevens Point.

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