Planting the Seeds of Knowledge for Leadership Growth
As the Milwaukee Art Museum Garden Club gets ever closer to its 100th birthday, we need strategies to secure our future development and growth. Our history is built on a strong foundation; we were part of the initial development of the Wisconsin Garden Club Federation and the National Garden Club organization. We are charter members of both groups.
Continuing our legacy depends on our ability to focus on key objectives and adapt to new challenges in gardening, environmental concerns, communications and membership development. We Plant the Seeds of Knowledge in our current and future leaders by:
Sharing Our History – Making our members aware of our historical connection to the Milwaukee Art Museum and the organizational network of National Garden Clubs, Inc. helps maintain our long-standing, positive relationship with both of these very important organizations.
Mentoring –We encourage committee chairs to include committee members as much as possible in all committee activities. This sharing of knowledge and information builds a team network. It also prepares other members to step into leadership roles in the future.
Communicating – Sharing information promotes a healthy environment. It reduces misunderstandings and helps everyone feel connected to our club in a positive way. We reach out through our Meetings, Newsletter, Membership Outreach Calls, Website and Facebook to keep members informed about the club meetings, events and volunteer opportunities.
Plant for Pollinators
The escalating loss of our pollinator populations is alarming. Pollinators are necessary for our survival. Bee populations are responsible for pollinating 70 out of the top 100 human food crops, supplying about 90% of the world’s nutrition.
Participation in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s four-day Art In Bloom event presents MAM Garden Club with a unique opportunity to share important gardening and environmental information with hundreds of visitors each day.
Our education kiosk, designed and organized by members of various committees, displays and provides materials covering a wide range of gardening and environmental topics. Garden club members are on hand to answer questions and provide handouts. This year we will emphasize the types of plants and environmental safeguards for pollinators including bees, butterflies, birds and bats. Seeds for plants that grow in our climate and are helpful to pollinators will be given to visitors who are willing to plant them. Information about Plant America, National Pollinator Garden Challenge and Ecology Warriors also will be distributed.
Our goal is to share information with as many visitors as possible to help them become more aware of the need for education, conservation and the protection of pollinators and wildlife.
A merit-based scholarship of $1,000 will be awarded to a college student majoring in a field related to horticulture. The student must attend a college or university in Wisconsin and have a career goal connected to horticulture, landscape design or environmental.
USDA Forest Service and National Garden Clubs, Inc. have formed a partnership to replant national and urban forests which have been destroyed by fire or other natural disasters. Through the Penny Pines Reforestation/Forest Education Program, donations provide both pines and indigenous trees for acre sites of 300 seedlings, called “plantations.” Contributions in increments of $68 help provide the seedlings the forest service plants on each plantation. Donors may designate a specific state; These plantations provide soil protection, watershed protection, soil stabilization, future harvestable timber, as well as beauty and shade for recreation.
Blue Star Memorial Marker
Honoring Those Who Serve Our Country
Our goal is to purchase and place a Blue Star Memorial Marker in a location near the Milwaukee Art Museum. In addition to the marker, we will also provide landscaping and plantings around the marker to beautify the memorial.
The National Council of State Garden Clubs, now National Garden Clubs, Inc.,established the Blue Star Memorial Program in 1945. Originally, the purpose was to honor veterans of WWII. Over time, it has evolved “to honor all men and women that have served, are serving or will serve in the US Armed Services.”
Konnecting Kids to Nature
Teaching children about nature and how to preserve our environment is essential to developing future citizens who are aware of their role in safeguarding our planet and all the creatures that inhabit it.
In an effort to promote real-life connections with classroom teaching, MAM Garden Club will sponsor nature center field trips or provide auditorium-style programs for several classes of students in grades 3 through 5. The objective will be to enhance the classroom curriculum. Classes will be from schools located in areas served by the Milwaukee Art Museum and will be selected on the basis of financial need.
“Right now, in the second decade of the 21st century, preparing our students to be good environmental citizens is some of the most important work any of us can do. It is for our children, and our children’s children, and generations yet to come"
Arne Duncan, former Secretary-US Dept of Education
Plant a Prairie for Education, Wildlife & Pollinators
At Lakeshore State Park
Lakeshore State Park is a 22-acre Wisconsin state park located on the shores of Lake Michigan in the City of Milwaukee. The only urban state park in Wisconsin, it offers visitors recreational activities and educational opportunities. Many natural areas of the park are short-grass prairies featuring grasses and plants native to Wisconsin. The prairies provide habitat for wildlife, insects and pollinators. We will partner with Lakeshore State Park to provide and help plant prairie grasses and native perennials to complete a section of the Gathering Circle in the park. The Gathering Circle is an area used as an outdoor classroom for educational programs for children and adults. On an annual basis, Lakeshore Park naturalists provide some 92 educational programs covering such topics as water ecology, habitat for wildlife, wetlands, prairie restoration, birds, insects, pollinators and the need to preserve and protect our environment for the future. Our effort to help complete the prairie area in the Gathering Circle enhances the educational programs for children in the City who do not have easy access to nature on a regular basis. Many studies have shown that children who don’t learn the connection between nature and the health of the environment are less prepared to make good decisions about preserving the environment in adulthood. The greater Milwaukee community will benefit from this project now and in the future.
Art In Bloom
Welcome to My Garden
Three years ago, a garden club member started an informal tour of members’ gardens. The experience was so well received that we incorporated it into our annual program year. Attendance has increased dramatically in the three-year period. Distance factors make it difficult to easily visit each other’s gardens because members come from the five-county area served by the Milwaukee Art Museum. This project enhances membership interaction, friendship building and the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by each other.
Calatrava Rose Garden
The Milwaukee Art Museum and Garden Club are recipients of a gift from Will Radler, world-famous Knock Out Rose creator. Radler selected a special rose to be dedicated to the Garden Club and the Milwaukee Art Museum in celebration of the Club's 90th Anniversary and the 10th Anniversary of the Calatrava Addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Last year, we set out to improve the soil in the rose gardens, but we ended up installing a new irrigation system with sensors that could detect when roses and the museum grounds needed water. This improvement is estimated to save over 600 thousand gallons of water and 3.5 thousand dollars annually.
Maintaining the rose garden is an ongoing project and the micro climate near Lake Michigan makes it necessary for us to continually modify our efforts to upgrade the soil and water climates.
Silent Auction - Fund Raiser
During Art In Bloom we hold a silent auction. Items are donated by vendors participating in the Art In Bloom Market Place and members of our club. Funds raised will be used for special projects including, but not limited to, Konnecting Kids to Nature, Blue Star Memorial Marker and Lakeshore Park Sensory Garden and Pollinator Habitat.
Plants for Habitat for Humanity
For 16 years, Milwaukee District Garden Clubs has been working with Habitat for Humanity to provide plants, small shrubs, trees, garden tools and gardening information to Habitat for Humanity homeowners in Milwaukee. We support this project by sharing plants from our gardens and/or donating purchased annuals or perennials. We also join volunteers from other clubs in the Milwaukee District to sort plants on Thursday and Friday and distribute plants to homeowners on Saturday.
Container Gardening Workshop
The MAM Garden Club provides planters, dirt, pollinator-attracting plants and volunteers to teach Habitat for Humanity homeowners how to plant a container garden. Homeowners take the planters home with them.
Judge Jason Downer House Planters
In 2016, the Milwaukee Art Museum relocated its art library and archives in the Judge Jason Downer House, 1201 North Prospect Avenue in Milwaukee. This historic 3-story Victorian gothic-style mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The MAM Garden Club provides plants and physically plants huge planters in front of the house. Plants are seasonal and, when possible, include those favorable to pollinators.