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Master Gardeners earn certification
Thirty-four Green County area residents were recently recognized for earning their UW-Extension Master Gardener Certification. In front from left are Robert Phillips, Joyce LaGrange, Mike Davis, Sue Konopacki, and Rae Wellnitz. In second row are Cathy Cryor Burgweger, Kris Winkler, Tamara Schulte, Tanna McKeon, Norma Bader, Jean Adler, Sally Bear, Theresa Nelson, and Nina Binkley. In back are Becky Wegmueller, Cheryl Rezabek, Kimberly Berg, Debra Kleppe and Lynn Lokken. Not pictured are Lois Baker, Linda Batty, Linda Boll, Karen Brunner, Julia Engler, Mary Alice Hart, Kathryn Schiedermayer, Ron Hayes, Ann Rogers, Laurie Rose, Tom Voight, Eugene Gessler, Krystal Schlichting, Sue Hartwig and Sande Wells.
MONROE - Thirty-four Green County area residents were recently recognized for earning their University of Wisconsin-Extension Master Gardener Certification at the annual meeting of the South Central Wisconsin Master Gardeners Association. Master Gardener volunteers provide services to their community by assisting citizens in addressing horticultural problems. The Master Gardener program is an all-volunteer organization sponsored by UW-Extension.

To earn the UW-Extension Master Gardener Certification participants are required to complete 36 hours of classroom training. The in-depth, classroom training covers a variety of horticultural topics including soils, botany, entomology, plant pathology, houseplants, landscaping, turf, vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants. The classes are taught by University of Wisconsin personnel including Extension specialists from the Department of Horticulture, Plant Pathology, Entomology and Extension agents.

After completing the course work and passing an exam, participants become Master Gardener interns for one year. During the year they must complete at least 24 hours of community service before receiving their official Master Gardener Volunteer Certification. Recertification is required annually and to retain their certification, 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, the South Central Wisconsin Master Gardeners Association members volunteered 277 hours in youth and community education, and an additional 1,636 hours in community service projects in Green County.

Local projects included the establishment and refurbishing of gardens and plantings at the Pleasant View Nursing Home, area public libraries, Monroe Welcome Center, the Monroe Arts and Activity Center and local churches. A spring gardening symposium was attended by over 90 adults, and youth educational programs were also conducted with the Monroe Public Library and area schools. Master Gardener Volunteers also assist the UW-Extension Office in responding to horticulture questions and offered information through a column published in local newspapers.

Joyce LaGrange and Susan Konopacki were recognized for contributing 500 hours of volunteer service.

Jean Adler, Mike Davis, and Sue Hartwig were recognized for achieving 250 hours of volunteer time, and Kimberly Berg, Linda Boll, Debra Kleppe, and Cheryl Rezabeck were recognized for 150 hours of volunteer service to the residents of Green County.

The South Central Master Gardeners Association meets on the fourth Thursday of the month from February through October. Association officers for 2009 will include Mike Davis, President; Lynn Lokken, Vice President; Norma Bader, Secretary; and Theresa Nelson as Treasurer. Anyone interested in horticulture and gardening is welcome to join the association and you do not have to be a Master Gardener to be a member. A general training for becoming a Master Gardener will be held at the Green County UW-Extension office in February.

For more information on the UW-Extension Master Gardener program contact Mark Mayer, Agriculture Agent at 328-9440.