For Phoebe Waugh, volunteering at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary provides a weekly retreat from city living. “I call it my mini-vacation,” she said. For longer vacations, Phoebe and her husband enjoy spending time at Isle Royal every June. “There I walk through the woods and see wonderful wildflowers, but I can do that every week when I come to the Garden.”
A regular shelter volunteer for over seven years, Phoebe not only enjoys looking at wildflowers, but she also draws sketches of them and paints them. “I have done water colors of marsh marigolds, the wood lily, the coneflower and views of the prairie,” she said.
Besides using the Garden as subject matter for drawings and paintings, Phoebe has filmed it as well. “In 1998 I filmed a three-hour video of walks through the Garden from early spring to early August,” she said.
Other Garden volunteers had an opportunity to view her video at the Friends’ Annual Volunteer Luncheon last November. Asked if she had added a musical soundtrack to the video, Phoebe answered, “Oh, no. I want only the sounds that are there. It’s so pretty to hear the sounds of the birds.”
For the last several years Phoebe has been employed at a pharmacy in the Midway area. “I find it rewarding to interact with people and I enjoy helping immigrants,” she said. “It also gives me a chance to use my Spanish.”
In addition to all of her other activities Phoebe finds time to maintain her own wildflower garden. “I have a variety of wildflowers including trillium, pasque flower, May apple and Canadian anemone.”
Note 1: Article by Newsletter editor Lisa Locken.
Note 2: This article was published in the Friends newsletter the Fringed Gentian™ Spring 2004, Vol. 52 #2.
A later interview with Phoebe was published in the Fall of 2015. [PDF Version]
Phoebe continues to volunteer through the 2017 Garden Season. In 2010 she compiled a book of Grasses of the Garden for use in the Martha Crone Shelter. Phoebe was elected to the Friends Board in May 2005, became Secretary from that year until May 2009. She later became Historian. She remains on the Board as of 2017.