Posted by: csdailyblog | April 28, 2010

Master Gardeners at Conserve and in the Community

Cathy Palmer, Instructor Mary Stys, Jean Haack, Mary Anna Thornton, Andy Milbauer, and Carolee Salat at the final session of their Master Gardener course -- wearing their favorite gardening clothes as they celebrate their successful completion of the class.

Conserve School staff members and residents Jean Haack, Andrew Milbauer, Cathy Palmer, Carolee Salat and I have attended weekly Master Gardener classes, held by the University of Wisconsin extension program, for the past three months. Just yesterday evening, we were all pleased to learn that we had passed the Wisconsin Master Gardener final exam with flying colors.  As newly minted master gardeners, we will all be involved in contributing to the success of the expanded Conserve School garden being installed near the campus pavilion, with Jean, as  Conserve School Stewardship Coordinator, taking the lead with planning and logistics. The garden will include an orchard, a butterfly garden, a small wetlands area, vegetable plots to raise food for the school dining room, family plots for Conserve School year-round residents, and the school apiary, which has just in the past few days been relocated to its new home by the pavilion.

Master gardeners are required to provide at least twenty-four hours of gardening-related community service annually. While taking these classes, we had several opportunities to meet other master gardeners in the area, to learn about a variety of local gardening projects, and to find ways to contribute our skills to the Vilas County community. We signed up, for example, to take turns staffing the gardening education booth at the Eagle River Farmer’s Market this summer. We’ll be on the look-out for community service opportunities that fit the mission of Conserve School particularly well, so that we can integrate them into our school program.  

Below you can see Andy Milbauer, Science Teacher, and I racking up some of those required volunteer hours by pruning bushes at the Land O’ Lakes Historical Museum recently. In two weeks, students will accompany Andy and I, and other staff members who are members of the campus Sustainability Service Team,  to the Historical Museum to remove some bushes that are both invasive species and diseased, and to replace them with healthy native species. Students wll also plant purple coneflowers (also a native species), which they’ve started from seed. Activities like these are excellent opportunities for integrating service work, hands-on learning, and environmental studies: a perfect combination for Conserve School.

Mary Anna

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Responses

  1. Congratulations to you all! I didn’t realize there was a community service component to the Master Gardener designation. That’s great!


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