Ozark Outdoors

Botanical Center hosts volunteers on MLK Jr. Service Day

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The English Garden at the Springfield Botanical Gardens combines American plantings in a British Design, including statuary and a donated vintage sundial.

The English Garden at the Springfield Botanical Gardens combines American plantings in a British Design, including statuary and a donated vintage sundial.

Garden 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. 18.

Volunteers are needed year-round for garden maintenance, education programs, tour guides, special events and more at the Springfield Botanical Gardens at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park. The 114-acre park 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. In 2015, volunteers provided more than 22,000 hours of service at the Springfield Botanical Gardens.

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

“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,” said Steinhoff. “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.”

Volunteer orientation is Monday, Jan. 18, 12:30 p.m., at the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., in Springfield. This event includes planning for the upcoming garden season. Attendance is free but registration is requested at 417-891-1515. Light refreshments will be served.

Additional volunteer orientations will be held Thursday, Feb. 11, 4 p.m., and Tuesday, March 22, 9 a.m.

For more information, call the Katie Steinhoff, coordinator of the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, at 417-891-1515.

For media inquiries only, contact Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, at 417-874-2943 (office) or 417-224-5510 (mobile) or email Jenny Edwards.

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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