The WIMGA was formed in 1992 by MGVs from around the state as a result of a statewide meeting held in Stevens Point.
The original Extension Master Gardener Program was created in Washington State as a way to help Extension handle all the horticultural questions being asked by the public. In exchange for educational training by Extension, MGVs returned volunteer hours to Extension for horticultural outreach.
In Wisconsin, Dr. Helen Harrison, Professor at UW-Madison brought the MG Program to the state. She worked with Dr. Bob Tomesh, Professor at UW-River Falls to make the program a reality.Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties started their program 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 programs.
In July 1999 a new position of MG 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 the WIMGA.
In October 2002 the Board was restructured because the Board was getting 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 2 District Directors from each district and three At-Large 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.
There are many local MG associations that belong to the WIMGA. There are also active MGVs who are individual members of the WIMGA but do not yet have a local association in their area. There are also some active MG groups and individuals in WI who are not yet members of the WIMGA.
The Wisconsin Master Gardeners Association (WIMGA) will be the collective voice for the local Master Gardeners Associations and individual members in active support for their horticultural projects and services; build networks to enhance outreach, share ideas and promote projects; and help extend UW-Extension’s educational role to the public.
• Act as the collective voice for our members to assure the horticultural work in the communities they serve is successful and contributes to the well-being of those communities.
• Encourage and support statewide networking to collaborate in educational endeavors and reduce duplication of efforts.
• Forge a strong partnership with the University of Wisconsin Extension Services to assure best horticultural practices.
• Be fiscally accountable in order to provide educational grants to our members as well as support horticulture-related endeavors throughout the state.