Skip to content

How To Bring Together a Community to Support a Botanical Garden

In our small community, Woodlake Botanical Gardens nearly became a town park.

Community meeting

Too much reliance on volunteer help, the finances of a small town, and the energy and amazing capacity of two people screeched to a halt at the end of June. Either the city had to take over the care of the gardens, or increase their spending to include paid help. The load was too much to bear alone. Too many disappointments when funds didn’t come through frazzled nerves and maybe a few tempers.

But the love of their gardens never wavered.

Agronomist for U.C. Davis and his wife, Manuel and Olga Jimenez, have given their time for the past 14 years. Modestly their donated time has been worth $2,310,000, or about $165,000 per year. That doesn’t include the donated plant materials and infrastructure.

Would the Community Step Up?

Today was the culmination of a month of planning.

So, Manuel and Olga invited Proteus and me to help them plan a meeting to see what kinds of support might be out there. We invited about 75 people from service organizations, educational and government services to attend a brainstorming session. Thirty-nine reserved, and fifty came.

Community meeting

David Hobgs, Monrovia, Proteus, Woodlake Pride and Delores Huerta Foundation all hobnob about the Gardens.

Fifty influencers in Tulare County gathered at Woodlake Presbyterian Church to brainstorm ways to raise $250,000 this year to support the Woodlake Botanical Gardens.

Wow! Even to put that much money on the screen scares me. Did you know that the San Francisco Botanical Gardens spend 5.5 billion dollars per year to maintain and grow the gardens?

Community meeting

Educators and Audubon society discuss the gardens.

That works out to $100,000 per acre. Woodlake has a unique 14 acre agricultural and rose and cacti garden valued at 500,000 in roses alone. If we maintained it to the same level as the SF garden, it would cost us 1,400,000 per year. That makes 250,000 seem paltry in comparison.

Our Agenda

  1. Our agenda included an opening walk around. Everyone wrote one or two things they love about the Gardens.
  2. Next, I gave a brief welcome, explained what in the world an educator/blogger was doing running a meeting about a botanical garden, and why we were there.
  3. We pre-selected four people to make presentations about the benefits of the gardens.  The first speaker, Chuck House, from Sequoia Hills Stables focused on the value and work of raising roses. Carmita Peña discussed the educational value to the 25 student volunteers a year who earned community service hours in high school working in the gardens. A Boy Scout organizer for 75 years, Bob Ludekens also still runs a nursery business that has donated hundreds of trees to the gardens. He explained why fruit from the store doesn’t taste sweet, and the fruit in the Botanical Gardens does. Finally, a former journalist and now website designer and documentarian, Shirley Kirkpatrick explained why the Woodlake Botanical Gardens are a treasure. A tourist attraction nestled in the foothills of the Sequoia National Park, the park draws much interest to their website about Tulare County.
  4. Finally, the meat of the meeting, table group brainstorming, and presentations. WOW. You can tell the engagement level of your participants in the process by simply listening to the buzz in the room. Each presentation was carefully thought out and well presented. Very few left the room even though we met during working hours.
  5. We held the meeting to right at one hour as promised, and offered them a chance to go home, but no one did until the last presentation finished. We closed with commitment cards about 10 minutes after the designated closing time.

    Community meeting

    I remind myself of my mom! 🙂

Follow-up

As a volunteer administrator, I am going to be looking for money. Several in the group volunteered to help with grant and proposal writing. It was clear that the gardens needed exposure. Some volunteered to help with marketing.

Even a little garden presents a huge amount of work. Plants don’t stop needing attention while you’re working out the details of who is going to do the work.

Community meetingWoodlake Botanical Gardens needs your help. Maybe you can donate funds. Someone suggested Fund me. So I’ll check into that. Maybe you love to weed roses. We need help with that now.

Community meeting

Manuel and Olga Jimenez, David Hobbs from Monrovia, Linda LaFleur from Kiwanis of Woodlake

Manuel is writing out a calendar of events so we can figure out how to get volunteers in the short-term to do the gardening work until we raise money to hire full-time employees. Even though we get employees, it will not negate the need for volunteer help. So if you can help, please let me know.

community meeting

a beautiful row of cabbage

I hope you don’t mind me writing about this on my blog. Right now, it’s where my mind and heart are. If I don’t write this, I won’t get much writing done.

Check into Always Write for my interviews coming up with author Sally Cronin, and social media guru, Chris Brogan. Today I am reposting a wonderful interview done by Norah Colvin with an author, Aleesah Darlinson. The topic of the interview caught my attention – the extinct Tasmanian tiger.

Related Posts

What Can You Do On a Saturday Night in Woodlake?
Woodlake Kiwanis Run for Hunger
Why Do Sunflowers Have Necks?

 

22 replies »

    • That’s so devastating and heartbreaking. It’s an amazing amount of work and financial support to create a garden and even more to keep it up! Our hearts go out to so many who have lost so much in these fires.

      Like

    • You are amazing, my friend. I also hope you will do an interview podcast with me. I did my first one yesterday with Sally, and I have one today with Chris Brogan. I’m getting a feel for who I am as a blogger – I think! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, my friend. I’m hoping for larger than local. It’s been proposed that we need a starting fund of 2.5 million and a budget of about $200,000 per year. That’s going to take more than local dollars because we are a small and poor farming community. We have 100% of our families on free and reduced lunch. We have the highest teen pregnancy rate in Tulare County. So this project has to reach farther than our community. As we sit at the base and on the way to the Sequoia National Park, I’m hoping that help will come from far and wide. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Marsha, gardening is very close to my heart and this is such an inspiring story. Congratulations to you all for giving back to the community and bringing the community together…. from little acorns!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Marsha Ingrao has had a very busy week as the challenge continues to raise awareness and funds for the Woodlake Botanical Garden.. do you live in the area in California and can you help out in anyway by volunteering or fundraising. Even sharing this post will help by reaching as many people as possible, especially bloggers or influencers in the region. Do you know someone in a position to help.. a business or green organisation with regional support locally? Please help Marsha with this important project #California #Woodlake Botanical Garden.

    Liked by 2 people

Translate

Marsha

Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

Personal Links

Verified Services

View Full Profile →

#StoryChat Y2

Writer’s Quote Wednesdays

How to Link to a Challenge

8 Benefits of Photo Challenges

8 benefits of Challenges

For the Love of Challenges

Teacher Resources

Click to Get Early Childhood Teaching Resources
SS Logo
Sunday Stills Logo

Becky B’s Squares April – Bright

Cee’s Black & White Challenge

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge

Featured Blogger Award

Free Download

Use Canva to Create Social Media

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 16,502 other followers

Categories

Blogs I Follow

Archives

Blog Stats

  • 159,213 hits
snapshotsincursive

Interesting stories about everyday moments.

eklastic

Refugees welcome - Flüchtlinge willkommen I am teaching German to refugees. Ich unterrichte geflüchtete Menschen in der deutschen Sprache. I am writing this blog in English and German because my friends speak English and German. Ich schreibe auf Deutsch und Englisch, weil meine Freunde Deutsch und Englisch sprechen.

Tish Farrell

Writer on the Edge

The Life in My Years

An anthology of life

Life...one big adventure

Explore. Dream. Discover.

Travel with Intent

A photographer's view of the world - words and images to inspire your travels and your dreams

And Anyways...

Author, Baker, Sunrise Chaser

Thistles and Kiwis

A blog about life in Wellington, New Zealand

From Pyrenees to Pennines

We went to France ..... and then we came back.

Lins Doodles

Illustration Friday challenge, artwork, mixed media, drawings, photo challenges

Stupidity Hole

Uninformed writings from an arrogant Sydneysider

Trent's World (the Blog)

Random Ramblings and Reviews from Trent P. McDonald

Nuggets of Gold

Helping you to find the gold nuggets amidst the dirt, sand and pebbles of life!

My Camera & I

This blog is my creative outlet where I can share my photos, my travels, my random thoughts and a bit of myself.

Kamerapromenader

En fotoblogg

Deb's World

Midlife, fun and adventure

Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

Read. Write. Love. 💕💕💕

Gary A Wilson Stories

10 Minute Adventures, Fiction and Coffee Breaks

Travels with Ali

My site is all about my travels around the world and in Australia, plus daily life photos!

THE SPECTACLED BEAN

Tales, Thoughts + Tribulations of a Free Spirit in Suburbia

Take It Easy

Retired, not expired: words from the after(work)life. And music. Lots of music!

Zimmerbitch

age is just a (biggish) number

luna's on line

Writing and Stuff by Chris Hall - Storyteller and Accidental Blogger

Wide Eyed Wonderings

Memories and Mysticism with a Wide-Eyed Spoonie

Rambles of a Raring Writer

Having fun with my creative writing venture!

%d bloggers like this: