Ozark Outdoors

Volunteer orientation at Springfield Botanical Gardens

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Master Gardeners do maintainance chores even during winter months. You should, too

Master Gardeners do maintainance chores even during winter months. You should, too

You can learn more about being a volunteer at the Springfield Botanical Gardens at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan.19, 2015. The date is already a federal holiday for many of us in celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday.

The event is free at the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic Ave. Light refreshments will be served. To reserve a place or for more information, call 417-89-1511.

“We are looking for volunteers to assist with garden maintenance, education programs and tours, special events and more,” says Botanical Center Coordinator Katie Steinhoff. “Several garden groups maintain the gardens and forge friendships in our lovely garden settings. Here’s your chance to meet other plant lovers and learn more about gardens and nature.”

Last year, volunteers reported more than 18,000 hours of service to the gardens and facilities at the 114-acre public park operated by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. Many of the volunteers are members of Friends of the Garden, and have completing work to become a member of Master Gardens of Greene County. However, membership is not required to volunteer, and many skills are needed.

“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 and lay the foundation to empower people to invest time and service into the care of the gardens.”

The 12,700-square-feet Botanical Center serves as a welcome and education center to the dozens of outdoor themed gardens, special plant collections, natural areas and a play trail with nature -themed activity stations located along more than three miles of paved surface. Community rooms, gardens and pavilions may be reserved inside the Botanical Center gift shop. Public services include the Lois K. Boswell Botanical Reference Library and Master Gardener Hotline. Offices of the Greene County Extension Service and Friends of the Garden are located in the building.

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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