2011 begins the 105th year of the Garden. It was the 59th year for the Friends and Susan Wilkins’ eight year as Garden Curator.
The first Friends Board meeting of the year took place February 7, 2011, at the home of President Pam Weiner. Garden Curator Susan Wilkins reported that the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) budget was tight this year. Besides unfilled positions, 14 full time staff have been lost. There was still not a replacement for the supplier of cedar chips to use on the Garden paths (supplier was lost in 2009). She was also working on a new guide for the Garden and she presented a list of projects that the Friends could choose from to fund.
Friends' membership chair Emily Anderson stepped down and the position was taken jointly by Susan Dean and Jayne Funk. Emily suggested that a “gift membership” be an alternative offered, as it once had been in prior years.
In the winter issue of The Fringed Gentian™ [Vol. 59, No. 1], Judy Remington editor, President Pam and Susan Wilkins summed up the results of the past year. An important milestone had been achieved when, after an 8 year effort, spearheaded by Steve Pundt when he was president and by the current president, the Loppett Ski trail was finally moved last fall away from the buffer zone around the Garden.
Former Friends president Harriet Betzold was interviewed for the newsletter. Harriet was president 1994-1998, co-chaired or chaired the volunteer coordinator job for seven years and spent many hours as a volunteer. Naturalist Diana Thottungal wrote about “Water in Winter - its magical.” Photos of last November’s Volunteer Appreciation Event were printed.
A second early board meeting was held on March 21 at the Kenwood Community Center. Susan Wilkins was not sure when the Garden would open due the presence of Winter. It actually opened on April 11. Susan had Lauren Borer back as program coordinator, two interns and two teen internships. Most naturalist programs this year would have a fee. Finally after two years, a new wood chip supplier for the trails had been found.
Jayne Funk reported on the status of membership. While the total count was 323, only 145 of those who were annual members were current on membership dues, 24% were two years overdue, making actual membership counts of the least few years questionable. Besides annual members there are life members and courtesy members. This prompted the board to authorize terminating membership of those past due after they received one more letter and then a note on their newsletter address that this was their “last issue.” Volunteer Coordinator Melissa Hansen set up a web based calendar for volunteers to use to slot themselves in for a shift. Jim and Ellen had organized Garlic Mustard pulls for April and May.
The Board voted to fund two of Susan’s Garden planting projects - wildflower and fern plants on the hillside of Violet Trail and understory tree planting in the same area. Total cost to be kept to $5,000.
The Friends had a booth at Gerten’s Plant Society Day on March 27, which Pam attended, and Melissa attended a table at the Arboretum’s Plant Information Fair on April 16.
The Garden opened the season late on April 11 due to ice and snow still in the Garden. The Friends adjusted the times of weekend volunteer shifts at the Martha Crone Shelter by splitting them into 4 segments instead of 2. Shorter hours would attract more volunteers.
In the spring issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 59, No. 2) President Pam Weiner announced a new Garden project to replace the main bridge in the wetland in honor of former gardener Cary George. A letter was also send to members [pdf]. The bridge idea was soon be expanded into a bridge and boardwalk for that section of trail. Susan Wilkins reviewed the six volunteer programs that serve the Garden and the hours contributed. The Friends manage the Shelter volunteers and the Invasive Plants action group. These two groups contributed 1,200 hours in 2010. The MPRB staff manage the Legacy volunteers, special group invasive removal events, Breck Students volunteer work program and the field work assistants. Those four groups contributed 850 hours. Naturalist Diana Thottungal wrote about “What’s in a Flower’s Name?” discussing the many varieties of common names for some plants.
The Friends Invasive Plants Action Group scheduled 6 dates in April and May to pull Garlic Mustard. Below: Co-coordinator Ellen Lipschultz with supplies. Friends photo.
The students at the Minnesota School for Botanical Art were working on their first drawings for the Florilegium Project announced last fall.
The Friends held their Annual Meeting at the Kenwood Park Center on April 30.
Elected to the Friends Board for the coming year were: Donna Ahrens, Emily Anderson, Gary Bebeau, Steve Benson, Sue Budd, Susan Dean, Jayne Funk, Melissa Hanson, David Krause (new), Jeff Lee, Ellen Lipschultz, Vivian Mason, Karen McCall, Gloria Miller, Jim Proctor, Sally Pundt, Steve Pundt, Judy Remington, Barry Schade, Anthony Waldera, Phoebe Waugh, Pam Weiner and Susan Wilkins (ex-officio).
Parks Commissioner Anita Tabb attended the Annual Meeting. Susan Wilkins spoke of the April start of the Garden season. The Minnesota Dwarf Trout Lilies had bloomed. There were now four clusters of them in the Garden. Minneapolis Schools 4th graders would be visiting this Summer, making use of the Friends Student Transportation Grant Program.
Two volunteer training sessions were held this spring. Emily Anderson reported on the South Wirth Redevelopment Project. She had been attending a citizens advisory committee. Jayne Funk reported on the membership activity, noted above in the notes to the March Board meeting.
At the Board of Directors meeting following the annual meeting, the officers elected were: Pam Weiner, President; Vivian Mason, Vice-president; Sue Budd, Secretary; Gary Bebeau, Treasurer.
Continuing in committee roles were: Gary Bebeau, memorials and website; Melissa Hansen, volunteers; Steve Benson, money management; Judy Remington, newslettereditor; Phoebe Waugh, historian.; Jayne Funk and Susan Dean, membership; Jim Proctor and Ellen Lipschultz, Invasive Plant Action Group.
The new Board voted to continue using 100% recycled paper for the newsletter, even though it was more costly - in order to demonstrate environmental responsibility. The concept of offering the newsletter by email was approved and Jayne Funk was to add that option to her correspondence with members. As part of a new outreach package a membership card was designed that could be distributed at gatherings, placed in the Shelter and used at table-tops. [pdf image]
In early May Pam Weiner was contacted by John Munger of the Loppett group. They had received a donation of 50 trees to beautify the new Loppett route and he wanted us to have some say in where they would be placed. The reply was that the Friends thought several should be planted where the new trial diverged from the old to direct skiers in the new direction.
On May 8, long-time Friends member and former volunteer coordinator Marie Demler passed away at age 96. Several interviews with her occurred in recent years. Here is a summary of her experiences.
Last year summer began with a severe wind and rain storm. This year spring ended with a tornado that touched down near the Garden on May 22. It passed through Wirth Park on the corner of Glenwood Ave. and Theodore Wirth Parkway, uprooting many trees and causing much damage in the Garden and damage to the west fence from falling trees [photo in summer gentian]. Here is Board member Emily Anderson's first hand report: (pdf)
Below: Tornado damage on May 22. Photo Judy Remington. Full set of photos.
Following the clean-up from the May 23 tornado, the herbaceous plant order arrived for planting. The Friends funded this at a cost of $2,650. 1,429 wildflowers and ferns were planted along Violet way [Details of project] but because of extremely dry conditions, the trees and shrub order that the Friends were also funding was delayed into 2012.
In the summer issue of The Fringed Gentian™, (Vol. 59, No. 3) long-time volunteer and Friends board member Joy Davis was interviewed and Naturalist Diana Thottungal wrote about the “Eyeshine” of animals. Updates on Garden activities were also reported.
Gary Bebeau and Jayne Funk were producing laminated plant identification thumbnail photo sheets for Garden visitors. These could be checked out at the visitors shelter. Gary was providing the photos and layouts, Jayne was laminating them.
Below: An example of a row of images from the identification sheets.
In September over 200 native trees and shrubs were donated to the Garden via an REI Gives Grant and were planted outside the Garden fence in areas where the volunteer groups had removed invasive species. The trees funded by the Friends could be delayed due to the dryness but these had to be taken.
The Friends Invasive Plants Action Group scheduled three sessions in September and October to remove Buckthorn in the buffer zone around the Garden.
On October 13, Friends member Bill Toivonen celebrated his 100th birthday. Board member Gary Bebeau attended and spoke about Bill’s interaction with the Wildflower Garden. Bill had written two articles for The Fringed Gentian™ in 2005 and 2006 about his early experiences in Wirth Park and his reflections on the quiet space.
The Friends held a Board Meeting on October 3 at the Kenwood Park Community Center. Susan Wilkins noted that over 1,700 had taken part in Garden tours and programs this year. The Forestry department was injecting 15 oaks for Oak Wilt, the Florilegium Project was proceeding with an exhibit planned for 2012. She also reviewed problems with developing the wetland project, now called the “Cary George Wetland Project.” Permits would now be needed from the MN DNR and a group of the protected MN Dwarf Trout Lilies would have to be moved as they were close to the boardwalk location.
In other business Judy Remington stated that she was loosing the volunteer services of newsletter designer Karen McCall and a search was needed for a replacement. Karen could continue only if she was paid. On the ongoing question of newsletter cost, Gary Bebeau put together a survey form for board members to see what the consensus of the board was about the newsletter. Answers would come in early 2012. President Pam was preparing grant applications to some of the foundations that might help support the new boardwalk.
Membership at this time was 311 but 61 had lapsed and were receiving their final notice, so the real membership was 250 of which 23 were life members and 40 were courtesy memberships.
In the fall issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 59, No. 4) Susan Wilkins reviewed extensively the many and varied groups that took part in Garden tours and programs this past Summer. Included in those groups were 705 Minneapolis School kids whose transportation to the Garden was subsidized by the Friends at a cost of $2,340.
A volunteer appreciation event was held on October 9 at the Kenwood Cafe on West 21st street in Minneapolis with the Friends providing beverages, food, door prizes and the Park Board providing desserts. Susan Wilkins also provided an Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden tote bag to all attending. Seventy attended. [Details]
In October one of our longest serving shelter volunteers, Judy Jones, passed away from Cancer. Judy was a volunteer from 1983 through 2009.
The Friends ended the year with assets of $73,000. Revenue in this fundraising year was $28,400 of which membership revenue was $6,100, memorials were $3,500, special donations were $14,700. Expenses were $8,400, $2,640 was paid to the Park Board for the plants, $2,340 was spent on Student Transportation Grants, and $1,000 was spent on small projects including a storage bin for tools for the Invasive Plant Action Group and on providing laminated plant identification sheets for checkout at the Garden visitors shelter.
Solicitation for the Cary George Wetland Project brought in $12,018 during the year, included in which was a major $7,000 donation from The Steven Leuthold Foundation. Memorials for Marie Demler, $1,840, were specified by the family to also go to the wetland project.
Weather: 2011 had some unusual weather, even excluding the Tornado in May. There was a lot of snow on the ground during January, February, and March with a 12 inch snowfall in late February. March was the warmest in weather history, but there was still enough snow and ice to prevent the Garden from opening until April 11. September, October and November were very dry, just 1/2 inch short of the all time record for dryness in that period. Only 1.06 inches of rain fell. November and December were bare of snow except that on the last day of the year rain began and turned to snow in early evening, ending the year with 1 inch of snow on the ground.
Photo top of page: The Avery Birding Terrace in the Autumn. Photo ©G D Bebeau
Meeting Minutes and correspondence of the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden.
Archive of the Friends Newsletter The Fringed Gentian™
Vol. 59, # 1 Winter 2011, Judy Remington, Editor
Vol. 59, # 2, Spring 2011, Judy Remington, Editor
Vol. 59, # 3,Summer 2011, Judy Remington, Editor
Vol. 59, # 4,Autumn 2011, Judy Remington, Editor
Historical Climatology of Minneapolis-St. Paul Area by Charles Fisk.