Ozark Outdoors

Botanical Center hosts volunteer orientation on MLK Jr. Day of Service

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Members of the Pink Dogwood Garden Club have been maintaining the White Garden since its inception. Many of the pink dogwoods in Parkcrest were planted by members, making a spring drive through the neighborhood a special trip.

Gardening enthusiasts are invited to get involved with the Springfield Botanical Gardens at a volunteer orientation on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, Monday, Jan. 16, noon, at the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., in Springfield.

Volunteers are needed year-round for garden maintenance, education programs, special events and more at the Springfield Botanical Gardens at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park.

“This park relies heavily on volunteer assistance from a variety of organizations, but especially from committed garden enthusiast groups, to grow and maintain the gardens,” says Katie Steinhoff Keith, Botanical Center Coordinator at the park. “We also depend on history buffs, world culture fans, bird and butterfly enthusiasts, writers, artists, photographers, face-painters, and people with information management and organizational skills.”

In 2016, volunteers provided more than 20,000 hours of service at the Springfield Botanical Gardens.

The Jan. 16 volunteer orientation includes planning for the upcoming garden season. Light refreshments will be served. This is an informational meeting and attendance does not imply obligation. Attendance is free but registration is requested at 417-891-1515, Ext. 3.

Additional volunteer orientations will be held Thursday, Feb. 7, 9 a.m.; and Saturday, March 25, 9 a.m.

The 112-acre Springfield Botanical Gardens features dozens of themed gardens and special plant collections as well as the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, Mizumoto Japanese Stroll garden, the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden, the Dr. Bill Roston Butterfly House the Gray-Campbell Farmstead, natural areas, play areas and trails.

Several gardening groups and societies maintain specific gardens. Regardless of plant specialty or skill level, volunteering at the park is a great opportunity to learn about plants and forge new friendships.

“Well-managed parks and green spaces encourage visitors, and provide communities with a sense of place and provide opportunities for recreation, health, fitness and education,” says Keith. “On this day of service, we hope to discover how our community wants to serve, as well as lay the foundation to empower people to invest time and service into the care of the gardens.”

For more information on Springfield Botanical Gardens, contact Katie Keith, Botanical Center Coordinator, at 417-891-1515 or e-mail Katie Keith.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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