Columbia Green Spring 2008 Newsletter
From the President
Volunteerism is the heart of Columbia Green
There are a multitude of ways to support Columbia Green without ever opening your checkbook. Columbia Green has been a volunteer-driven organization since its inception in 1984. While we have recently hired a part-time administrative aide to help us stay on top of membership renewals and the demanding day-to-day organizational work, the majority of the work done by Columbia Green is handled by a plethora of volunteers, both on and off our 20-member board.
We welcome members to become active participants in our organization. Volunteering allows members to funnel their talents and energy into the beautification of our metropolitan area. We promise that we won't ask our volunteers to till soil or dig holes in our medians due to safety issues, but we can utilize citizens in many other ways.
For instance, we welcome Columbia Green members with specific talents and interests on many of our board committees. Members can participate in our membership, marketing, educational, events, projects, information technology and newsletter committees. These committees are the backbone of our organization and constitute the bulk of what we do every year. By participating in our committees, residents can take a larger role in our organization, steering us in new directions and providing us with fresh ideas.
In addition, there are opportunities for both members and non-members to volunteer at many of our special events. The annual Festival of Gardening, for instance, utilizes 40 Master Gardeners and an additional 40 volunteers as part of our largest fund-raising event. This festival is our most labor-intensive activity, and volunteers help guide participants through the gardens, take tickets and answer simple questions. Volunteers can also help out with planned educational events, the Columbia Choice awards and our annual meeting.
If you are interested in volunteering for Columbia Green, I urge you to visit our newly-designed website at www.columbiagreen.org where you can register for the volunteer activities in which you are most interested. This allows you to physically participate in our organization, making you a greater part of the beautification of our city.
Columbia Green Launches a New Web Site
In April, Columbia Green launched a new website with new features and updated pictures. Best of all you can now donate and renew your membership online. The Board of Directors took the first step this year to bring the organization into the 21st Century. The new website has some great new features including a Tip of the Month on the homepage, a secured page to pay your membership or donate online, sign-up for our e-newsletter and purchase tickets to this years Festival of Gardens. The website was designed in conjunction with The Rackes Group to provide greater access to all that Columbia Green is doing.
In addition, a monthly e-newsletter will be added in the near future to send to all of our members and those who want to get involved with Columbia Green. All you have to do is give us your name and email address. These newsletters and more e-news updates will be coming to you monthly. We'll save trees and be able to communicate with you on a more regular basis. In addition, we can remind you of your membership renewal and upcoming events.
Log on today (www.ColumbiaGreen.org ) and let us know what you think in our Contact Us section. We'd love to hear from our members and supporters!
Festival of Gardens to be May 15 and 17
The 2008 Columbia Green tour is remarkable in its breadth of gardens - from formal gardens with European flair to those with the feel of "a city getaway".
This tour truly has something for everyone. Whether people are novice, weekend or expert gardeners, everyone will come away with plenty of ideas. But one thing's required - comfortable shoes only! Leave the delicate sandals and heels at home. You'll want to traverse every square inch of these Columbia Green gardens! And don't forget pen and notebook for take-home ideas!
Columbia Green is indebted to Karen Petit for her writeup of the gardens on the insert in this newsletter. Karen Petit is the creator of the "Shandon's Ivy League" Mystery Series for young readers and pet lovers of all ages. The series follows the adventures of a group of pets who solve crimes and mysteries. The first book, "The Mystery of the Screecher Creature," was published in November 2006. Other books in the series are "The Mystery at Foggy Bottom Lake" and "The Mystery of the Stolen Stallion." Book 4, "The Mystery of the Circus Curse," will be published this year.
$5,000 Grant to New Children's Hospital to Renew the Garden
A grant from Columbia Green will help in the renewal of the sculpture garden next to the new Children's Hospital. In the past, the garden was a meditation garden. Richard Allison's wonderful sculptures of children are still there, but when the construction of the Children's Hospital started the garden was abandoned. Construction of the hospital is expected to be finished by mid-May of this year.
We are happy to be helping to renovate a quiet place of beauty where families and children can find a spot to relax away from the bustle of the hospital. Columbia Green is giving a grant of $5,000 for the plantings. We are thrilled that Richland Health is going to maintain the garden. The statues will be beautifully framed by the new plantings.
"Columbia Green is excited to renew this area for those who need healing and quiet," said Ken Walden, the Projects Chairman of Columbia Green. "This project has a spiritual as well as aesthetic purpose and was unanimously approved by us."
The Children's Hospital will be opening on May 20, 2008 at 10:30 am.
Columbia Green Expanding Neighborhood Grants
Columbia Green has tripled one of its grant programs this year, increasing to $9,000 the amount of money its hopes to give deserving neighborhood associations attempting to improve their public areas.
In an effort to increase interest in the Neighborhood Beautification Grant Program, the grant application has been simplified and the funding per project has been expanded from $1,000 to a maximum of $3,000 per award. These grants are to be used solely to purchase plant materials, and the sites must have proper irrigation to be considered. Columbia Green encourages, but does not require, matching funding.
"Think of what your neighborhood entrance could look like with this award," says Board Vice President Ken Walden, who heads Columbia Green's project committee.
"Don't be shy; Give it a shot! This grant money can make a big impact at your chosen location."
Columbia Green hopes to award funding to three deserving organizations this year. Grant applications can be downloaded from our website at www.columbiagreen.org under Grants in the menu line. Grant proposals are due Oct. 15.
Past recipients of the Neighborhood Beautification Grant Program include the Brandon Acres/Cedar Terrace Neighborhood Association, Dreher High School Alumni, the Elmwood Park Neighborhood Association, the Iris Garden Club and many others.