Wisconsin Master Gardeners Association
The Wisconsin Master Gardeners Association (WIMGA) is an independent, statewide volunteer organization providing support and leadership to individual University of Wisconsin Extension (UWEX) Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) and affiliated local MGVs Associations. WIMGA is the collective voice of over 2,000 UWEX MGVs and 53 local Associations, a strong partner with UWEX in advancing the MGV program, and the conduit for statewide networking among MGVs.
WIMGA was formed in 1992 by MGVs from around the state after a statewide meeting in Stevens Point.
The original Extension Master Gardeners Volunteers (MGV) Program was created in Washington State as a way to help Extension handle horticultural questions from the public. In exchange for educational training by Extension, MGVs returned volunteer hours to Extension for horticultural outreach.
Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties started their associations in 1977 (Southeast Wisconsin). Brown County began in 1979 (Northeast Wisconsin), Dane County (Madison Area) in 1981, the Fox Valley Area in 1986 and Portage Co. in 1990. Other areas around the state have continued to develop their own associatioins.
In July 1999 a new position of Master Gardeners Program Coordinator was established by UW-Extension with encouragement from WIMGA to address growing needs throughout the state. Susan Mahr was selected to work with the Program and coordinate closely with WIMGA.
In October 2002 the Board was restructured because it was too large to operate efficiently with a representative from each local association. The state was divided into six districts, conforming to existing UW-Extension districts, with two District Directors from each district and three At-Large Director positions providing representation for all MGVs. One representative from each local association receives information from the Board to relay to their local association and vice versa. They and Board members participate on various standing committees.
While many local MG associations belong to WIMGA there are also active MGVs who are individual members of WIMGA but do not yet have a local association. Some active MGV groups and individuals in WI are not yet members of WIMGA.