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Meet a Master Gardener:

Rita Gundray: 

Raised with 15 siblings on a dairy farm in southern Wisconsin, gardening wasn’t an option, but a necessity. Our large vegetable garden was flanked by a wooded area, a jelly-maker’s paradise, abundant in blackcaps, blackberries, wild grapes and wild plums.

This upbringing laid the ground work for my adult years. I completed the Master  Gardener course in 2011 and the online Level II in 2012.  Seasoning my gardening hobby with conservation efforts for the eastern bluebird, native bats, monarch butterflies and mason bees, keeps me involved from March to October.

I was employed for 35 years in the medical field.  Since retiring, I have been working on a special gardening legacy project…..propagating a white rose bush which grew on our home farm since the 1920’s. Consulting with Dr. David Zlesak, a 40+ year veteran of rose research at UW-River Falls, we have identified this rose as Rose Alba Semi-plena. Each spring, I look for 2 year old shoots surrounding the established roses at our old farm site. To date, I have successfully propagated 25 rose bushes which are shared with family members. In addition to the many home sites in Wisconsin, this rose happily flourishes in Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska, Texas and Alaska.

Volunteer Opportunities –

Old and New

Contact Andy at Andy.Heren@co.eau-claire.wi.us. to get in contact with group leaders

Youth Gardens at North River Fronts Park

  • Children going into third through fifth grade participate in a teaching garden from June 20 – August 11, 2022. The program is sponsored by Boys and Girls Club and uses the Food Wise curriculum from Oregon. It takes place Mondays through Thursdays at 9-11 am. Volunteers can choose their schedule and help prepare and plant the garden, teach and garden with youth, or do garden maintenance. An application needs to be submitted to the Boys and Girls Club, and a background check is required.

Beaver Creek Reserve  

  • Volunteers are needed for the native plant sale preparation April 4-6, the sale on Mother’s Day weekend, as well as the Butterfly House from July 5th through Labor Day. More information can be found on the website at bcr@beavercreekreserve.org, or contact Kristin Giefer at outreach@beavercreekreserve.org.

Schlegelmilch House

  • This is a historical house that is part of Chippewa Valley Museum. Volunteers plan and manage the gardens outside at the Schlegelmilch House.

Forest Street Community Garden and Edible Landscape

  • The Forest Street Community Garden works on shared gardening projects, and holds monthly meetings and social events. Volunteers help maintain the Edible Landscape downtown Eau Claire. Harvesting fruit and other produce is open to the public for no cost.


Lakeshore Elementary School

  • Lakeshore Elementary School has a summer teaching garden, and volunteers can help garden or teach with youth, or do maintenance. The Food Wise curriculum is used to teach healthy eating. Flynn Elementary School would like to start a similar program.

Menomonie Street Project

  • A project replacing invasive plants with native and other plants, and will help liaison with neighborhood associations to create similar upgrades.


Teaching Gardens at UW Extension Office

  • Garden beds can be “adopted” and cared for throughout growing season. In the past, a community event was held for people tour and harvest from the gardens.

Ask a Master Gardener

  • Takes place at the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market from 8 am to noon between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Contact Andy at Andy.Heren@co.eau-claire.wi.us.


ECMGVA Newsletter presented by Carol Cox

  • Volunteers can submit garden photos “eye candy”, poems, quotes, stories or articles for the newsletter. These are especially helpful outside of gardening season from November to February. They are due near the end of the month.

Master Gardener Plant Sale

  • The annual Master Gardener Plant Sale is a fundraiser, and it will be co-hosted this year by the Eau Claire Garden Club. It is a large project where all hands on deck are needed – to grow, prepare and run the sale and clean up. It will take place on Saturday, May 22 at 9 am – 12 noon at Phoenix Park Pavilion.


New Project for Earth Stewardship

  • There will be a new project to work on activities and education for earth stewardship to help the community and organizations take good care of the earth and environment. Composting, and other methods of sustainability will help promote part of our mission to become environmental stewards.

Answer horticulture questions at the UW-Extension office 

  • Take calls from area residents with horticulture related questions

  • Research for calls for the Horticulture Outreach Specialist

Providing Education presentations & Tours

  • Give presentations for garden groups, Master Gardeners, Libraries

  • Provide an educational tour of your garden

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Reporting your Education & Volunteer Hours.

The below link is where you can report your minimum of 24 volunteer and 10 education hours.