Ann has been volunteering at the Garden for 15 years, but her ties go back much further. She often brought her own two young daughters to visit, as they lived nearby. Those visits inspired her to begin bringing her Longfellow School kindergarten classes to learn from the Garden. Ann tried to arrange an autumn and a spring trip each year so the kids could see the seasonal changes. This was before there were staff naturalists giving tours. Former Gardener, Cary George would meet them at the gate for their visits.
After many years working as a Shelter volunteer, Ann retired from teaching two years ago and agreed to become the Volunteer Coordinator. Besides working occasionally in the Shelter, she now makes sure the Shelter has volunteer staffing every day from April 1st to closing in late October. She juggles the volunteer emails and phone calls into a monthly schedule, as well as the switches and cancellations that invariably occur each month. She does it all with a smile and great humor.
The 100th Birthday Celebration events in 2007 led to many extra volunteer opportunities and Ann and her husband Tracy were there again and again. Ann rounded out this past season as the of the annual Volunteer Thank You event on November 11th. No wonder Ann was the Minneapolis Park Board honoree Volunteer of the Year for 2007!
When Ann is not busy with Eloise Butler activities she volunteers at Longfellow Elementary School and the Ronald McDonald House classroom. She has been in the same book club for 20 years, enjoys travel and began Spanish classes this fall.
Ann is excited about the Garden’s expanding educational programming, especially for school age children. Asked for her own wish list, she suggested a fund that would cover garden tour costs for schools/groups that cannot afford the fees. Her favorite EB Moment, “persuading a tired husband he needed to take a spring walk one evening and we happened upon the fox kits playing. We watched ‘til the sun set. They were not afraid of us at all and played very close to where we stood on the trail.”
Note 1: Article by Melissa Hansen, Friend of the Garden
Note 2: This article was published in the Friends newsletter the Fringed Gentian™ Winter 2008, Vol. 56 #1.
Ann was elected to the Friends Board of Directors in May 1999, remaining on the Board until May 2009; from 2006 to 2009 she was volunteer coordinator. She continues to volunteer at the Shelter.