February 15, 2010 4:24 PM
Just about every year I make it a point to stop by at the annual Olbrich Gardens volunteer appreciation lunch. I don't say much (to their great relief). I just thank them for all of their good work in the previous year and thank them in advance for all they'll do in the year to come.
So, that's what I did at noon today, and I learned that last year 622 people volunteered at Olbrich and they contributed about 25,000 hours of work. Olbrich has a talented and hardworking paid staff, but they can only do so much. It's really the volunteers that make the place sing.
Since this event is always held around Valentine's Day, I usually take the opportunity to tell my favorite environmental Valentine's Day joke (this is a narrow, narrow category to be sure). It's actually not so much a joke as a real quote from Carrie Lee Nelson, Sen. Gaylord Nelson's wife. Sen. Nelson was the founder of Earth Day and a guy with a terrific sense of humor. Anyway, his wife shared that dry wit when she reported that the secret of their long, happy marriage was that for 50 years they had both been in love with the same man.
Happy belated Valentine's Day and thanks to the Olbrich staff, board and volunteers for creating and taking care of such a beautiful place in our city.