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Area residents earn Master Gardener certifications
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MONROE - Thirty-eight Green County area residents were recently recognized for earning their Master Gardener certification at the annual meeting of the South Central Wisconsin Master Gardeners Association.

Those who received an award were Joyce Anderson, Theresa Colney, Jo Pinnow, Kimberly Berg, Kris Winkler, Susan Konopacki, Norma Bade, Jack Policastro, Gregg Smith, Paul Roemer, Mary Malkow, Sally Bear, Ricky Kiesling, Tanna McKeon, Roseann Meixelsperger, Theresa Nelson, Cathy Burgweger, Cheryl Rezabek, Cindy Cooley, Sharon Adams, Mary Alice Hart, Mike Davis, Linda Boll, Kristi Leonard, Jean Adler, Betty Grotophorst, Lynn Lokken, Becky Wegmueller, Debra Kleppe, Nina Binkley, Lois Baker, Jayne Butts, Joyce LaGrange, Eugene Gessler, Michael Colney, Mary Nelson, Ann Marie Ott, Rae Wellnitz, Gaida Vickerman, Tom Voight and Kathryn Schiedermayer.

Ten new members earned their initial Master Gardener Certification in 2011, including Adams, Michael Conley, Theresa Conley, Cooley, Grotophorst, Kiesling, Malkow, Meixelsperger, Roemer, and Smith.

The main functions of the group are to help serve the horticulture needs of Green County area residents, provide continuing education for its members, perform community service through volunteer activities, and to provide a link between the community and UW-Extension.

To earn the UW-Extension Master Gardener Certification, participants are required to complete 36 hours of classroom training. The training covers a variety of horticultural topics including soils, botany, entomology, plant pathology, houseplants, landscaping, turf, vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants. After completing the course work and passing an exam, participants become Master Gardener Interns for one year. During that year, they must complete at least 24 hours of community service before receiving their UW-Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Certification. Recertification is required annually and Master Gardeners must attend a minimum of 10 hours of professional development in addition to providing 24 hours of volunteer service each year.

This past year members of the association volunteered over 230 hours of community education and 1890 hours in community service projects in Green County. Local projects included maintaining many flower gardens and plantings at the Pleasant View Nursing Home, Brodhead Public Library gardens, Albany Look Lookout area, establishing the landscape at an Exeter Park sign, plantings at the New Glarus Village Hall and flower clock area, and Activity Center in Monroe and local churches. Master Gardener Volunteers also presented informational programs for all age groups including the Belleville Senior Citizen Group; the Hope EFC Community Garden, at many local grade schools as well as to 4-H and FFA members.

Master Gardener Volunteers also assist the UW-Extension Office in responding to horticulture questions and several were recognized the recent annual meeting for achieving volunteer hourly milestones. Eugene Gessler, a Master Gardener Volunteer was recognized for achieving 150 hours of volunteer service. Six Master Gardener Volunteers were honored for achieving 250 accumulated hours of service; Kimberly Berg, Linda Boll, Lynn Lokken, Jo Pinnow, Cheryl Rezabek and Tom Voight. Mike Davis was honored for achieving 500 hours of volunteer service.

The South Central Master Gardeners Association meets on the fourth Thursday of the month from February through October. Association officers for 2012 will include Mike Davis, President; Susan Konopacki, Vice President; Norma Bader, Secretary; and Lynn Lokken as Treasurer. More information is available by calling Mark Mayer, UW-Extension Agriculture Agent at (608) 328-9440.