“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”
― Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein
The summer of 2018 has been one of great change at Wellfield Botanic Gardens. If you Google us and read the reviews (thank you to all who have reviewed us!), you will note many comments about the construction of new gardens and venues, as well as exciting new events. We hear from our more “occasional” guests about how dramatically things have changed since their last visit. Our hope is these changes will yield more beauty, function, and fun to inspire and ‘wow’ everyone who visits.
The changes aren’t all outside in the Gardens, however. In our Visitors Cottage, we recently made a huge change: a new desk! Thanks to Gowdy Woodworks, our beautiful new check-in desk will allow our staff to come out from the shadows of what now will become a back office and retail storage area and greet our patrons more easily, improving our overall guest experience.
Another change we have implemented this summer is to ask for identification on Tuesdays. This change has come as a surprise to some, while others have taken it in stride. We thought it would be worth reviewing an entry to our website F.A.Q. page:
Why do we ask for identification and/or Membership Cards when you enter?
The simple answer beyond this being the standard and best practice in our industry: We value ALL of our guests. We wish to ensure that we’re providing both the best service and experience possible whether you’re a Member, frequent visitor, or if you’re here at Wellfield for the very first time.
Want a little more ‘why’…? As Wellfield is privately funded, in small part, by admission fees and annual membership support, we wish to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your visit.
- For our valued Members, that means we want to ensure that YOU, and no one else, is receiving your membership benefits. Different membership levels come with varying benefits. We know you value your membership benefits – – and we want to make sure they’re secure. When our staff or volunteers ask to see your membership card and/or identification, they’re upholding the integrity of your membership benefits. It also gives our staff and volunteers the chance to put names to faces, provide reminders of upcoming expiration dates, or relay special promotions as a benefit of membership.
- For our guests who are not currently members, thanks to our partnerships with private funders, Wellfield is able to offer free admission to residents of Elkhart County on Tuesdays during our Spring-Summer seasons (a great benefit of living in Elkhart County) and on other special event days throughout the year that feature free admission for all. To maintain that funding, we are obligated to collect guest information (currently that includes only your zip code) to validate the demand for funding. The data collected ALSO allows us to make requests or recommendations on additional funding, services, or events if the need becomes apparent based on geographic frequency. Please know your privacy is important to us – no personal information is ever collected/shared with others.
We appreciate your understanding while we grow through implementation of these changes. Our Visitors Cottage staff and volunteers are also adjusting to the changes – THANK YOU for working with us so we may continue to create a positive guest experience for all.
And thank you for your support!
Nina Cunningham, Visitors Cottage Manager