Support comes in so many forms!

While every day is a great day at Wellfield, I particularly enjoy my drives into work on sunny, spring days. I’m reminded of the reason I began my career at botanic gardens 17 years ago, passing plant after plant along the roadsides, homes, and landscapes of my typical route. And while the plants are spectacular, it’s the way they make people FEEL that intrigues and motivates me the most. It’s the way that people interact with their environment and the opportunities I have to influence that engagement in a positive way; providing opportunities to see, touch, smell, taste and truly experience the world around them that drives my passion. Those experiences are meaningful, powerful, and can truly make a difference in people’s lives in one way, shape, or form, and serve to foster stewardship of our natural world, that our children and grandchildren are afforded the same beauty as I have had the pleasure to experience on this earth. These are the reasons I support Wellfield Botanic Gardens and other institutions with similar missions. And while my family does not have the financial capacity to donate large sums of money, I’m proud of the amounts we do give – – and perhaps more proud of the way that support can take many forms.

On Tuesdays, I drive past our maintenance area and see many cars parked there – the cars of volunteers here to give of their time and talent, supporting our horticulture staff as they tend the Garden’s many treasures. Beautiful spring days bring a whole lot of members and guests through the Gardens, and on special event days, the Garden swells with visitors enjoying their experience. I enjoy social media daily, and as an active member of our marketing team, am always happy to see when our news and events are ‘liked’ and even more excited when I see them ‘shared’ with others on their feed. In my interactions around town, the biggest thrill I get is overhearing how ‘beautiful’ Wellfield is, what a ‘community treasure’ it has become, and hearing the words “we take all of our out-of-town guests to Wellfield when they visit” really takes my pride to the next level.

With all the words we see and hear every day, I often think the value of ‘word-of-mouth’ is undervalued. When most of the ‘news’ we hear is negative, it’s often the positive things in life that go overlooked. I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with our guests, members and community frequently… I treasure the chance to ask questions, listen more than speak, to truly understand what we’re doing right and what we can do to make experiences better. But what pleases me most, is that the sentiment is always the same – – the SUPPORT for Wellfield and our Mission in the community. Whether it’s through a donation, membership, admission, in-kind service or gift, volunteerism, following, liking and sharing on social media, or simply a recommendation to a friend when asked “What should I do when I’m in Elkhart?” the support can take many forms – – and every bit of it is appreciated.

Have a great week! and Thank You for supporting Wellfield Botanic Gardens!

-Eric Garton 
Robert and Peggy Weed Executive Director
Wellfield Botanic Gardens