April 24, 2017
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Always on the grow: Master Gardeners volunteer for many projects in county


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By Jeanne Hilinske-Christensen


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A recent article in Kenosha News’ “My Life” section about our local Master Gardener volunteers has people questioning if there are more Kenosha County projects in which the Master Gardeners are involved. Indeed there are!

The impact made by our trained and dedicated Master Gardener volunteers can be seen throughout our communities at local schools, municipal buildings and other non-profit facilities.

At Curtis Strange Elementary School in Kenosha, Master Gardener volunteers support teachers and assist students with planning, planting and maintaining raised bed gardens. They also enhance the curriculum and provide activities related to plants and gardening in the classroom throughout the school year when the weather is not conducive to outdoor instruction.

Another project that takes place in local schools is “Botany in the Classroom,” which offers hands-on plant-related activities, such as creating terrariums out of repurposed two-liter plastic bottles. Master Gardener volunteers instruct the students about plant life and plant needs while constructing the mini-ecosystems.

Master Gardener volunteers act as plant health advisers at the UW-Extension office in Bristol on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon during the growing season. They research and answer plant inquiries received from phone calls, email messages and walk-ins at the office’s front counter. Also, plant health advisers staff a booth at HarborMarket from June through September.

Along the shore of Lake Michigan, at the Kemper Center, the Master Gardeners assist with maintaining the landscape beds around the property. This group of Master Gardener volunteers also took on the huge task of identifying and labeling many of the unique trees growing on the site. They assist with designing the beds and installing the plantings that beautify the grounds each season.

The gardens at Kenosha Hospice Alliance in Pleasant Prairie are tended by Master Gardener volunteers to offer an area of respite for patients, their family members and caregivers. The therapeutic gardens at this location are very much appreciated by all who enjoy them.

A rain garden at the entrance of the Somers Town Hall is quite an attraction for residents and visitors alike. Master Gardener volunteers assist the maintenance staff with tending this sustainable landscape feature. Educational signage posted at the site describes the garden and its usefulness, and tags identify plants growing in the garden. Gardens that add splashes of color and educational tips throughout the Kenosha County Fairgrounds are the handiwork of Master Gardener volunteers. They keep the gardens looking great not only for the county fair but throughout the summer and fall.

The national award-winning All-America Selections Display Garden, which is located on the grounds of the Kenosha County Center in Bristol, keeps the Master Gardeners who volunteer at this project busy not only with planting and tending the garden, but also with brainstorming ideas and creating plans to meet and exceed the requirements of the annual landscape design contest associated with being a registered AAS Display Garden. In the three years of this display garden’s existence, the Master Gardener volunteers have earned landscape design awards all three years!

Our Master Gardener volunteers’ commitments to our communities are evident in their projects located throughout the county. MGV = Master Gardener Volunteer = most greatly valued.

— Jeanne Hilinske-Christensen is the UW-Extension Interim Horticulture Educator for Kenosha and Racine counties. Submit plant care questions to the Master Gardeners Plant Health Advisers. Phone 262-857-1942 or email master.gardeners@kenoshacounty.org.


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