I was honored to join Marty Pettillo, Olbrich Botanical Gardens Volunteer Services Manager (pictured below), Parks Superintendent Eric Knepp and Olbrich Botanical Gardens Director Roberta Sladky this morning to welcome guests to the Olbrich Volunteer Appreciation Lunch.
Today's event recognized the 300+ volunteers who reached 25 or more hours of service at Olbrich Gardens in 2014. These amazing individuals accounted for 90% of the total service hours in 2014. Not only was their contribution key to the Garden's success last year, but the majority of them are dedicated volunteers who have given their time in previous years as well. There was a special portion of the program to acknowledge the 1,000+ group. These folks have been long-term volunteers with Olbrich and have reached 1,000 hours of service as of last year. A couple of volunteers have even reached 7,000 hours of service. WOW!
The volunteers in attendance today represent over half of the people who gave their time last year. There were over 600 volunteers who assisted with everything from greeting, to helping patrons utilize the Horticulture Library resources, to cleaning, to hosting programs, and working special events and helping maintain the gardens. Hats off to all of the volunteers, the Olbrich Society Board, and Olbrich staff who hosted a record-breaking 287,777 visitors last year. All of you helped to make this local treasure the welcoming, sustainable, educational, serene, and lovely environment that it is. This would not be possible without you!
We hope that friendships continue to blossom amongst this year's volunteers as they explore their interests and hone their gardening and horticulture skills together. The Primulas that the volunteers received today are only a small token of appreciation for all of their dedication and hard work. Their hours of service are priceless! On behalf of the City of Madison, thank you for sharing your time and talents.