George Bridgman ended his long service as a Shelter volunteer at the end of August 2009.
George became interested in volunteering at the Garden through his mother, Betty, who had been a Friends volunteer before him. He remembers coming to the Garden with her, where she shared her love of nature and the outdoors.
Betty Bridgman (1916-1999) was a poet and writer who also served as editor of the Fringed Gentian™ from March 1983 until July 1990. Some of her poems about the Garden are included in Collected Poems and Selected Other Writings of Betty Bridgman, and George remembers her writing a special poem in honor of the dedication of the Martha Crone Shelter in 1970. [Read it here]
The Bridgman family tradition of volunteering for the Garden is one of the elements that make George stand out. Another is his long service, which began in 1995. Over the years, George has particularly enjoyed helping visitors—by answering their questions on the phone and after they arrive at the Garden.
He has been pleased to orient people to the guidebook and station numbers; he’s been especially proud to inform visitors that they’ve come to the country’s oldest publicly owned wildflower garden. George’s 14 years of volunteering is ending with the summer this year when he moves to Duluth. It will be a return for him to an area he loved while teaching math at the University of Minnesota Duluth for three years in the 1970s.
The Friends thank George Bridgman and his mother for their many years of contributing to the Garden and wish him great happiness surrounded by the beauty and hiking trails of the Duluth area.
In this photo, George is watering the memorial Witch Hazel planted in honor of his mother, long-time Friends member, volunteer and Fringed Gentian™ editor Betty Bridgman. She was also a renowned local poet and that plant is listed in the Minneapolis Heritage Tree List for cultural significance. (FG Vol. 51 #3)
Note 1: Article and photo at top of page by Judy Remington
Note 2: This article was published in the Friends newsletter the Fringed Gentian™ Vol. 57-3, Summer 2009