Growing Community

“Growing Community.”
Gardening puns aside, it’s a key piece of our Mission at Wellfield Botanic Gardens that really enticed my relocation from another Garden in southern California almost two years ago. The vision that Wellfield could not only be a place that educates, inspires, and fosters stewardship of our environment, but that purposefully positions itself as a partner WITH our neighbors, our city, our county, and our region to strengthen and GROW our community is a vision that I want to be a part of! So how do we do that?

Location. For our local audience, including a large share of supporting members and friends, Wellfield is situated in nearly the geographic center of Elkhart, conveniently located just north of downtown on North Main Street. We’re in the ‘heart’ of Elkhart! Regionally, Wellfield is positioned close to the Indiana Toll Road, linking Midwestern states and within a 75-mile radius, there is a growing population that exceeds 2.7 MILLION people (expand that radius to 100 miles and the number leaps to over 10 Million!)

A Gathering Place. A place with beautiful, open spaces, designed for guest use, Wellfield was intended to be a place where family, friends, and community groups could gather. Whether it’s a wedding, anniversary or a family walk on a Sunday afternoon, Wellfield is meant to be enjoyed by people. Special events are a staple in growing community, whether they are and internally produced like our Mother’s Day Luncheon, Scarecrow Picnic or Monsters in the Gardens, or a special event in partnership with an outside organization such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County’s ‘Bottlecaps and Corks’ event held here on May 26, Wellfield is ideally suited to bring people together for joyful experiences, creating memories and traditions that are lasting. Look for more community partnerships, such as the CAPS Superhero 5k and Northern Indiana Hispanic Healthcare Coalition’s (NIHCC) 2017 Car Raffle BOTH held here on Saturday, April 29, and a community favorite in its 9th year: Taste of the Gardens, an event produced by the Elkhart Rotary Club on Saturday, August 26.

Education. Unquestionably, Wellfield’s role in providing educational opportunities including K-6th grade guided field trips to over 1000 students each year, workshops and classes for lifelong learners, and guided tours for the public and private groups increases the social capital of our city, county, and region, ultimately improving the quality of our community.

Opportunity. Wellfield’s volunteers reported providing over 5000 hours of service at Wellfield in 2016! (I include the word ‘reported’ as these numbers are generally under-represented versus the actual total). Wellfield provided an opportunity for over 200 volunteers to give of themselves in support of Wellfield’s Mission… Volunteerism is a GOOD thing! The more we give, the happier we feel. Volunteering increases self-confidence. Volunteers do good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Volunteering can provide a sense of pride and identity, as well as develop new skills, provides opportunities for networking and new friends, and improves the lives of others.

I hope you’ll consider yourself a part of our community – – whether you’re reading online from afar or truly a neighbor in Elkhart. Community is important and we’re proud to be a part of strengthening ours for the future through education, opportunity, and by being the most beautiful outdoor location in Michiana to gather and celebrate!

Have a great rest of your week and I hope to see you at Wellfield!


Eric Garton
Robert and Peggy Weed Executive Director