at the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden
Special Project Funding
The Friends have undertaken funding various projects over the years to benefit the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary. These projects are jointly worked out between the Friends and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB). Our Student Transportation Grant Program pays for bus transportation to bring school children from eligible Minneapolis schools to the Garden for a nature class. These projects are funded from annual supporter giving, other donations and memorials received by The Friends. The most recent funding years are shown below.
2023 Mission Program
On April 3, the Friends Board of Directors approved using budgeted funds for the purchase of native shrubs and understory trees to be planted in the Volunteer Stewardship Area around the Garden in places that the Friends Invasive Plant Action Group (FIPAG) has cleared of Buckthorn, Garlic Mustard, Honeysuckle and other invasives. The areas were in the Maple Bowl and along the position of the new upland fence that was added in 2022.
Flowering plants and ground covers have already been seeded with seeds provided by the Friends. The native shrubs will not only anchor the exposed soils but provide shelter and food for the many birds that inhabit the area around the Garden. Clearance of the invasive plants provides a buffer zone for the Garden from invasive seeds.
Below: Overlaid on this 1967 winter aerial photo of the Wildflower Garden environs are the recent FIPAG work areas. The Maple Bowl outlined in yellow and the new area in red. Both areas show the small pool in the center of each. The white outline of the Garden has the upland fence in the approximate position following the 2022 expansion.
Below: This fall 2023 photo by Jim Proctor shows the new FIPAG work area. It is a small un-forested slope which sits above a small pond. This spot was obscured by a wall of non-native trees and shrubs including buckthorn, honeysuckle and Amur maple, which in this photo have been partly removed. In late Fall 2023 a large quantity of native seeds were purchased to seed this area. Both grasses and flowering forbs for all parts of the flowering season have been seeded.
Student Transportation: On April 3, the Board approved spending funds from the Student Transportation Grant Fund for bring children to the Garden this summer for a naturalist-led program. By the end of summer 12 classes had come to the Garden and transportation funding totaled $3,285.
Fencing: On September 25, the Board approved allocating up to $100,000 for the construction of a new perimeter fence in the upland area of the Garden that would connect the end of the new 2022 fence to the back gate. This plan would move the perimeter of the Garden outward and incorporate an additional area that has been subject to extensive invasive plant control by the Friends Invasive Plant Action Group and the Garden Legacy Volunteers over the last 10 years. the MPRB will handle the bidding and contracting process.
Shelter and Kiosk: For the first time since the Covid pandemic, the Martha Crone Shelter was open to visitors this season. The Friends volunteers staffed both the entry Kiosk and the Martha Crone Shelter. Kiosk volunteers interacted with 24,559 persons and in the shelter 16,701 spoke with volunteers and Garden staff, while out on the trails Garden staff met with another 8,428 visitors. This adds to almost 50,000 visitors who had a contact in the Garden, not counting those who visited without contact.
For our educational mission, three issues of our newsletter, The Fringed Gentian™, were published and distributed by email and twelve issues of our monthly Twigs and Branches™ mini-newsletter were published and emailed to our mail list. Outtakes from Twigs and Branches™ were printed and distributed at the Garden for visitors to take. The Sumner Library display project volunteers continued their work with a display that evolved as the seasons changed.
2022 Mission Program
During the year, the Friends Invasive Plant Action Group (FIPAG) sucessfully held 3 invasive plant removal events in the spring and 3 in the fall, all in the Stewardship Area around the Garden. 68 volunteers within the Friends Invasive Plant Action Group and Legacy Stewards invested 325 hours to remove buckthorn, non-native bittersweet, shrub honeysuckle and garlic mustard. Additional tools and supplies were purchased for FIPAG. Seeds were purchased for sowing the Maple Bowl area where the removal events took place [see graphic in 2023 section]. The Friends sponsored a Volunteer Appreciation Event for all Garden volunteers on October 31. Welcome Kiosk docent Volunteers greeted and assisted 6,850 visitors in the last 2 months of the season. Funds have been banked for the planned renovation of buildings in the Garden.
For our educational mission, three issues of our newsletter, The Fringed Gentian™, were published and distributed by email and twelve issues of our monthly Twigs and Branches™ mini-newsletter were published and emailed to our mail list. Outtakes from Twigs and Branches™ were printed and distributed at the Garden for visitors to take. The Sumner Library display project began in the spring with a seasonal display that evolved as the seasons changed.
2021 Mission Program
The Friends began reserving funds for our contribution to planned improvements to the Garden Shelter which will add space to better support staff and visitors. The majority of the funding will be provided by the MPRB. Planning and design in underway.
We also funded the following:
(1) Purchase of flowers, ferns and sedges for replanting areas of the Garden where needed or where renovation work is being done.
(2) Funding supplies needed by the Friends Invasive Plant Action Group (FIPAG) for their work in the buffer zone surrounding the Garden.
With Covid restrictions still in during the year it was not possible for schools to schedule Garden visits, thus no funds for Student Transportation Grants were expended this year.
Below: New plants ready for planting at the Garden. Photo - Jennifer Olson.
2020 Mission Program
Funding for 36 different species of flowers, ferns and sedges - total of 2,664 plants - cost $7,341.
Covid restrictions prevented schools from scheduling Garden visits this Summer and no funds for used from the Student Transportation Grant Fund.
2019 Mission Program
1. Completion of Phase II of the wetland boardwalk - Installation finished in April 2019. Final funding installment - $22,100. Full boardwalk project details here. Total Friend funding for both Phase I and Phase II was $148,000, with the MPRB funding a similar amount.
2. Planting project - 145 Native shrubs for the wetland and 124 for the upland in the intensively managed prairie garden areas (as result of invasive control 2015-2018) - $5,065 - PLANT LIST
3. Student Transportation Grant Fund; 780 student Garden visits. Cost $2,750
4. Friends Invasive Plant Action Group: $813 for tools and seedlings planted in the Maple Glen.
Below: Completed phase II of the wetland boardwalk. Photo G D Bebeau
Below: The boardwalk dedication on April 26, 2019. L to r: MPRB Commissioner Jono Cowgill; Friends' Board Member Pam Weiner; donor Tom Hoch, MPRB Commissioner Meg Forney; donor Mark Addicks; Friends President Kathy Connelly. Photo MPRB.