Olbrich Gardens-Thanking our Volunteers
I recently had the pleasure of attending Olbrich Botanical Gardens’ annual volunteer celebration.
Through all of 2021, Olbrich Gardens was an important destination for about 300,000 people. It was open daily and welcomed garden lovers looking for inspiration, fun, and a safe place to spend time with family and friends.
They came to Gleam, or to explore the new greenhouses and the fabulous learning center. They came to visit a particular flower or tree, or just to have a place to be outside in beauty. Whatever the purpose, Olbrich provided a sanctuary during a global pandemic.
Places like Olbrich Gardens help define the City of Madison. They are the reason why we are able to attract new businesses with new jobs, attract talent to live and work here, and maintain a national reputation as one of the most-livable cities in the U.S.
This is why the State Dept of Tourism has awarded Olbrich Gardens a significant grant to fund accessibility improvements such as a shade structure for the tram seating area, a larger more accessible outdoor/after-hours turnstile, and more. I want to thank Tourism Secretary Sayers, Governor Evers, and President Biden for making this possible.
Grants are important, but places like Olbrich wouldn’t be possible without people. At Olbrich, 421 volunteers choose to give their time throughout 2021 so others could enjoy Madison’s public garden. They help in every area of the Gardens, from weeding and mulching to welcoming visitors in the lobby or Bolz Conservatory. One group of volunteers even scours the Gardens for insects and helps staff record beneficial, and not-so-beneficial, insect populations!
Impressively, once someone is an Olbrich volunteer, they’re likely to keep volunteering there. The list of people who have volunteered at Olbrich for 20 or more years grows annually, as does the number of career volunteer hours. In fact, of the 421 active volunteers, 68 have given at least 1,000 hours of service over their Olbrich career, with some giving 9,000+ hours!
I appreciate Olbrich’s Volunteers, and thank them for the hours they’ve given Olbrich, the experience they provided Olbrich’s visitors, and the ideas and enthusiasm they bring to the work.