MSU Extension Master Gardeners recognized for many volunteer efforts provided to Upper Peninsula communities

Over 40 Upper Peninsula Extension Master Gardeners contribute volunteer service amounting to over $98,000.

People at the table
MSU EMGs Dan Doyen and Harry Worden (pictured leaning over the table) show little attendees at the Escanaba Kiwanis Home & Garden how to create a ladybug feeder, while EMG Dianna Lawson (far right side) looks on. Photo by Rebecca Krans, MSU Extension.

As another gardening season comes to an end and the year is winding down, it is time again to highlight the contributions of numerous Michigan State University volunteers who participate in the Michigan State University Extension Master Gardener Program across the Upper Peninsula. In 2022, over 40 Extension Master Gardeners (EMGs) were recognized for volunteer efforts that amount to over $98,000 for Upper Peninsula communities. These volunteers are part of the MSU Extension Master Gardener program, whose mission is two-fold:

  1. It provides instruction in basic, research-based, horticulture science to motivated and active gardeners using an adult (18 years or older) educational program offered through MSU Extension.
  2. It provides MSU Extension trained gardeners to communities to help educate others about environmentally and economically sound practices through horticulture-based volunteer activities.

Many MSU Extension Master Gardeners see an educational gardening need in their local community or have a passion to improve a public garden area. Some help support pollinators, others promote native plants or teach children how to garden. In 2022, Upper Peninsula Extension Master Gardeners managed and contributed to over 69 Upper Peninsula gardening projects and devoted over 4,000 hours. Projects stretch from the Keweenaw Peninsula across to Sault Ste. Marie and reached over 4,000 people.

MSU is very proud to announce the following newly certified Extension Master Gardeners in the Upper Peninsula:

  • Mary Bosworth (Alger County)
  • Dan Doyen, Dianna Lawson and Harry Worden (Delta County)
  • Polly Havins (Houghton County)
  • Barry Johnson, Laurie Kibler, Leslie Lasko and Alexandris Polk (Marquette County)
  • Martha Rypstra (Iron County)

Here are the MSU Extension Master Gardeners who earned an additional 50 volunteer hours and 25 educational hours to achieve “Advanced” status:

  • Dianna Lawson (Delta County)
  • Steve Lawry (Marquette County)

Advanced MSU Extension Master Gardeners who received additional volunteer hours milestones included:

  • Jackie Manchester-Kempke (250 hours, Houghton County)
  • Kristin Martin (250 hours, Marquette County)
  • Gail Razavi (250 hours, Marquette County)
  • Jeannie DeClerck (500 hours, Houghton County)
  • Henry Knoch (500 hours, Delta County)
  • Linda Roncaglione (500 hours, Marquette County)

Finally, two Upper Peninsula Extension Master Gardeners were recognized for 1,000 hours! Read more about their efforts here.

  • Ron Rossway (1,000 hours, Marquette County)
  • Elizabeth Slajus (1,000 hours, Dickinson County)
People sitting at a dinner table.
Marquette EMGs and Upper Peninsula consumer horticulture staff recently gathered to celebrate the volunteer accomplishments. Left to right: Leslie Lasko, Rebecca Krans, Ron Rossway, Cathy Starrett, Linda Winslow, Linda Andriacchi, Claire Twohey and Elizabeth Slajus. Photo by Elizabeth Slajus, MSU Extension.

As part of being in the MSU Extension Master Gardener Program, volunteers have the opportunity to become Smart Gardening Volunteers by completing self-paced training on how to deliver MSU Extension’s Smart Gardening outreach resources that focus on earth-friendly, sustainable practices for the home gardener. Twenty-six Extension Master Gardeners serve as Smart Gardening Volunteers in the Upper Peninsula. In 2022, they provided outreach at over 20 different Upper Peninsula events, including the Upper Peninsula State Fair and many county fairs, farmer’s markets, and local events.

The following MSU Extension Master Gardeners are recognized for their Smart Gardening efforts. First year Smart Gardening Volunteers: Mary Bosworth (Alger County), Reyna Crow (Ontonagon County), Kathleen Perry (Mackinac County) and Dawn White (Marquette County).

Multiple year Smart Gardening Volunteers: Steve Gordon, Vicky Gordon, Carol Plitz (Chippewa County); Greta Arntzen, Carolyn Bissell, Ruth Botbyl, Henry Knoch, Dianna Lawson, Sue Wanic (Delta County); Elizabeth Slajus (Dickinson County); and Jan Peck, Alexandria Polk, Ron Rossway, Cathy Starrett, Claire Twohey, Linda Winslow, Marquette, Amalia Anderson, Peg Hertel, Deb Kinzi, Jackie Manchester and Erin Minne (Houghton County).

People at a conference
Kathleen Perry, MSU EMG Smart Gardening Volunteer, at the Escanaba Kiwanis Home & Garden Show providing attendees with Smart Gardening resources that address their gardening questions. Photo by Rebecca Krans, MSU Extension.

MSU Extension Master Gardeners have opportunities to work closely with me (Rebecca Krans, their local consumer horticulture educator) to become diagnostic responders on the MSU Extension Lawn and Garden hotline or the online Ask Extension resource. I truly enjoy working closely with the Upper Peninsula diagnostic responder team and have been doing so since 2017. They are a dedicated group who enjoy helping others with gardening questions and also enjoy keeping up with the latest issues to better assist clients. The Upper Peninsula diagnostic responder team includes Carolyn Bissell and Henry Knoch of Delta County and Lisa Gregg and Deb Kinzi of Houghton County.

MSU Extension Master Gardeners love gardening and sharing their knowledge in various ways. They share it through many dedicated hours of volunteering that frequently takes time, effort, monetary input, transportation to and from volunteer efforts and/or purchasing supplies. They are a dedicated group that contribute tirelessly to their communities and we at MSU Extension appreciate and celebrate them!

If you are interested in learning more about the MSU Extension Master Gardener Program, please visit our Extension Master Gardener Program website. We are looking forward to rolling out a brand new MSU Extension Foundations of Gardening Course and a subsequent MSU Extension Master Gardener Onboarding for those who want to apply to become a volunteer. For those interested in receiving messages about future training opportunities in 2023, sign up here.

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