Dan O’Neil is the Ozaukee County UW-Extension Agriculture Agent. He has served the residents there since 1982. Dan’s major program areas include Master Gardener training and youth livestock production.
The Ozaukee Master Gardener program has grown to one of the larger groups in the state under Dan’s leadership. Membership has grown to around 190 active volunteers who contribute approximately 7,600 hours in volunteer services in Ozaukee County each year. The volunteers donate time in ten major projects, with half of them being projects directly or indirectly located on Ozaukee County government properties. This type of volunteer work which is designed to upgrade county facilities is a very strategic plan developed and encouraged by Dan.
The Master Gardeners work with two Horticultural Therapy projects which are held at two different facilities; one which cares for the elderly, and the other works to end domestic and sexual violence. The Lasata Project has become one of the organizations long-time successes. The facility produces food, ornamentals, plants for an annual fundraiser for the residents, all while providing some great active therapy for a wide range of residents. Each year new accessible projects are developed to meet the skill level of residents. The Advocates House effort is a totally different project and its garden is designed to be a quiet reflective garden for residents and it also includes a vegetable garden producing free local produce for use in the kitchen. Evidence of benefit have been reported by staff, family members and Master Gardener Volunteers at both locations.
The Youth Livestock program is another major emphasis. The number of enrolled members is these programs in now over 170 youth and 55 adult leaders. Dan coordinates all the educational programs, with a minimum of seven educational workshops each year.
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