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Friends of the Wild Flower Garden
P. O. Box 3793
Minneapolis, MN 55403

News Update from the Friends

Friends Annual Meeting:

Dr. Lee Frelich
Dr. Lee Frelich, Guest Speaker.

Our 70th Annual Meeting was held on September 18 at 2PM in Johnson Hall at the Sumner Public Library, 611 Van White Memorial Blvd, (at Olson Highway), Minneapolis. Social gathering from 1:30 - 2 PM. It also had a web link via Zoom. Susan Wilkins, Curator of the Garden, spoke on the state of the Garden, committee reports will be given and a new board of directors were elected.

Guest speaker Dr. Lee Frelich, Director of the University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology spoke on "Could climate change turn Minnesota into the new Kansas?"

Directors elected were Candyce Bartol, Colin Bartol, Gary Bebeau, Steve Benson, Bruce Jarvis (new), George Lawton, Jennifer Olson, Jim Proctor and J. Pam Weiner.

Directors Kathleen Connelly, Lauren Husting, Steve Pundt and Sally Pundt retired from the board. Lauren continues in the role of volunteer media communications coordinator.

At the board of directors meeting following the annual meeting the officers elected were:
Jennifer Olson, president; Candyce Bartol, secretary; Gary Bebeau, treasurer.

FIPAG Activities

The Friends Invasive Plant Action Group conducted three buckthorn events in October and three garlic mustard events in the spring. The area of the Maple Bowl now has large spaces free of buckthorn and garlic mustard. Additional weed wrenches and a large selection of native plant seed mixes were purchased for FIPAG for use in the Maple Bowl. Additional information on our activities is in our monthly email newsletter Twigs and Branches. If you don’t receive this, sign up at the link on our website home page.

FIPAG Buckthorn team

Long-time Friends:

42 members have supported us for 20 years or more.
24 of the 42 have been members for 30 years or more,
5 of the 24 for 40 years or more,
2 of the 5 for 50 years or more.

Our 50+ year members are: J. S. Futcher, Lee & Jerry Shannon.

Sadly, we announce our longest serving member, since 1967, Karol Gresser, passed away on August 5.

display case with volunteers

A New Friends History:

Seventy Years of the Friends is a new book that documents the activities of Friends of the Wild Flower Garden and the events happening in the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden from the founding of the Friends in 1952 until 2022. Details on this page. Available in pdf format and a limited number of printed copies.

Sumner Library Project Update:

President Jennifer Olson in April began a display case presentation about the Wildflower Garden at the Minneapolis Sumner Library Branch. The exhibit changes seasonally and is maintained by Jennifer and several Friends members. The first display this spring featured some history about Eloise Butler, spring wildflowers and a display of Judy Remington’s glass tiles on spring wildflowers. Judy, is a former editor of our newsletter, The Fringed Gentian™. A summer display had a similar theme and the fall display is now on view. The Library is located at 611 Van White Memorial Blvd, (at Olson Highway), Minneapolis. Pictured with the display are those who tend it - (l to r) Maryjane Tessman, Maggie Tuff and Jennifer Olson.

Membership Rate Changes

It has been 13 years since we increased our basic membership rates. As announced at the Annual Meeting in September and in the Fall Fringed Gentian™, our support rates change on January 1, 2022.

The current basic rates of “Individual” and “Family/Duo” will be combined into a “Basic Membership” rate of $25 per year. “Sponsor” rate will be $100 per year, “Benefactor” rate (formerly “Sustainer”) will be $250 per year and the “Life Member” rate will be a one-time payment of $750. This is the first change to the Benefactor and Life rate since the Friends were founded in 1952. The “Sponsor” rate remains unchanged since 1952. Thank you all for your past support and we welcome your renewed support as we finish our 70th year in 2022.

Friends Mission Funding:

The Friends Board of Directors approved budgeting over $17,000 in 2022 for our mission program of educational activities, volunteer support, student transportation grants to visit the Garden and funding for plants, habitat and infrastructure at the Garden. Due to Covid-19, student visits have been off limits. We expect they can resume in summer 2023. Volunteers returned to the Garden in August to greet visitors at the new entry kiosk. The Friends Invasive Plant Action Group was supported with purchases of weed wrenches and native plant seed mixes for establishment in the Maple Bowl area. The area of the Maple Bowl now has large spaces free of buckthorn and garlic mustard. The Volunteer Appreciation Event returned this October 30th after a two year absence.

Your donations

You should know that your support contributions to the Friends are entirely used for these Garden projects and our other mission programs. Our administrative expenses are small, on average, 5% of revenue or less, and these expenses are funded from non-contribution revenue.

If you want to read more about the historical aspects of the Garden and the things the Friends membership has accomplished over the last 70 years visit the "garden history tab" and the "Friends history tab." Links at the bottom of this page.

What your gifts in support of our progam have accomplished!

Garden projects are the largest use of our contribution revenue. Over the last 10 years we have funded $212,000. The two largest components of that amount were $148,000 for our portion of the boardwalk and $40,700 for plants and habitat. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board also provided funding for these two components.

Over the past two years, the addition of new plants continued while visitation to the Garden was in a more restricted mode. All the way back to Eloise Butler’s time, the majority of planting effort in the Garden consisted of the addition and replacement of existing plant species. Unlike long-lived trees, most herbaceous plants die out more quickly (except, it seems, for Trout-lilies which seem to last forever) and need to be replaced to keep the collection in tact. The Garden has its own plant budget that is frequently supplemented by funds from the Friends.

Garden boardwalk
The Garden boardwalk section installed in 2015. Photo courtesy of the Cuningham Group, Design architects.
new plants for the Garden
Garden staff member with two plants - photo courtesy MPRB.

In the Past 70 Years:

20 members served as newsletter editor
22 members served as president
118 names are on the shelter memorial board
137 members served on the Board of Directors
250 Fringed Gentian™ newsletters were created
5,446 Children visited with our Transportation Grant
$47,000 was provided for Garden plants
$98,000 was provided for our educational program
$335,000 was invested in other Garden support.