Upper Peninsula Extension Master Gardeners recognized for volunteer service

Extension Master Gardeners volunteered over 3,330 hours focused around teaching others about proper gardening techniques with close to 7,900 people reached.

Houghton Extension Master Gardener attendees
Houghton County attendees at the Extension Master Gardener recognition celebration included (from left): Jim and Jeannie DeClerk, Amalia Anderson, Dan and Gene Kuiper, Michael Mallow, Lisa Gregg, Erin Minne, Amanda Bioniemi, Kathryn Salmi, Susan Miko and Erin Matas. Photo by Rebecca Krans, MSU Extension.

Over 40 Michigan State University Extension Master Gardeners from the Upper Peninsula were recently recognized for their educational and volunteer contributions to their communities in 2018. These highly dedicated individuals extended the education and public reach of MSU Extension by volunteering over 3,330 hours to educate nearly 7,900 people, young and old, about proper gardening techniques that are research based and environmentally sound. The economic value of these volunteers’ contributions in 2018 was worth more than $84,600!

Volunteer projects range from helping others grow food, assisting communities with beautification while improving quality of life and teaching about environmental stewardship, to extending the MSU educational resources through the Smart Gardening messaging.

There are 83 Extension Master Gardeners located throughout the Upper Peninsula from the counties of Baraga, Chippewa, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Mackinac, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon and Schoolcraft. Three different recognition events were held to recognize the efforts of all these Upper Peninsula Extension Master Gardeners; these were located in Houghton, Escanaba and Marquette. Forty-five Extension Master Gardeners, guests and MSU Extension consumer horticulture staff attended these events.

Who was recognized?

Marquette Extension Master Gardener recognition celebration
Marquette County attendees at the Extension Master Gardener recognition celebration included (from left): Judy Ashby, Brenda Hershey, Elizabeth Slajus, Ron Rossway, Claire Twohey, Linda Winslow, Cathy Starrett, Sharon and Steve Soave, Jane Milkie and Kris Martin. Photo by Rebecca Krans, MSU Extension.

Those achieving Extension Master Gardener basic certification from the Houghton area included Peg Hertel, Amalia Anderson, Gene Kuiper, Hilary Sproule, Lisa Gregg and Erin Minne. These individuals completed the 45 hours or more training course and volunteered over 40 hours in their first year after training.

From the Marquette area were Jayna LaViolette, Amy Barnsley and Dawn White. From the Escanaba area were Scott Cook, Rosemary Charles and Kelli Marshall.

Extension Master Gardeners receiving Advanced Master Gardener certification, which involves volunteering an additional 50 hours beyond their basic certification and 25 additional educational hours within five years, included Steve Gordon fromChippewa County, Ruth Botbyl and Rosemary Charles from Delta County, Lynn Adams from Gogebic County, Betty MacInnes and Maria Janowiak from Houghton County, Tammy Cruickshank from Mackinac County, and Brenda Hershey and Jim Hayward from Marquette County.

Additional milestone achievements included Susan Becker from Marquette County and Jeannie DeClerk from Delta County, earning their 250 volunteer hours bar; Maureen Thomann from Ontonagon County, earning her 500 volunteer hours bar; and Linda Andriacchi from Marquette County earning her 1,000 volunteer hours Extension Master Gardener gold name badge.

Delta County attendees at the Extension Master Gardener recognition celebration
Delta County attendees at the Extension Master Gardener recognition celebration included (from left): Greta Arntzen, Frank and Kathleen Louis, Elizabeth Slajus, Karen Moore, Ruth Botbyl, Nick Chenier, Dominique Bougie, Henry and Mary Knoch, Jesse LaRose, Dwayne and Debbie Kuehl, and Jenny VanDyck. Photo by Rebecca Krans, MSU Extension.

Extension Master Gardeners also have the option of completing of Smart Gardening Volunteer specialized training. This involves completing an orientation and a self-study ranging from 6-12 hours of annual educational training to remain up to date on MSU Smart Gardening resources. Thirty-five percent of Upper Peninsula Extension Master Gardeners are trained as Smart Gardener Volunteers. Reaching more than 5,000 people at 21 additional Upper Peninsula events, they increase public outreach by 86%.

Important Smart Gardening messages focus on earth-friendly, sustainable and research-based practices that save gardeners time, money and effort. A key environmental message is how gardeners can help improve and protect water resources. Ways Smart Gardening Volunteers share this message is through distributing tip sheets that help gardeners make intentional choices about fertilizer and pesticide use. For example, the “Don’t Guess, Soil Test” tip sheet helps gardeners learn how to get their soil tested so they know what or how much fertilizer is needed. Alternatively, “Smart Plants to Support Pollinators” helps people learn what to plant to support pollinators throughout the growing season.

Smart Gardeners Volunteers include Chippewa: Steve Gordon, Vicky Gordon and Carol Plitz of Chippewa County; Greta Arntzen, Carolyn Bissell, Ruth Botbyl, Henry Knoch and Sue Shepich of Delta County; Elizabeth Slajus of Dickinson County; Amalia Anderson, Amanda Bioniemi, Jean DeClerck, Lisa Gregg, Peg Hertel, Phyllis Johnson, Deb Kinzi, Jackie Manchester-Kempke, Erin Minne and Hilary Sproule of Houghton County; Linda Andriacchi, Lisa Johnson, Jan Peck, Ron Rossway, Cathy Starrett, Jane Milkie and Linda Winslow of Marquette County; and Maureen Thomann of Ontonagon County.

Appreciation and recognition were also provided to Extension Master Gardeners who assist with staffing the statewide MSU Extension Lawn & Garden Hotline (1-888-678-3464). This free service provides gardening advice yearly to over 7,800 callers and is made up of specially trained responder teams located in different areas around the state that are coordinated and managed by consumer horticulture staff. Upper Peninsula hotline responders include Carolyn Bissell and Henry Knoch of Delta County, Elizabeth Slajus of Dickinson, and hotline responder trainee Amy Barnsley of Marquette County.

Visit the MSU Extension Master Gardener Program website for more information on Extension Master Gardeners.


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