For more than a decade the St. Louis Arc has been a proud community partner with the National Historic Landmark, Missouri Botanical Garden. One of the oldest botanical gardens in the United States, the mission of the Garden is to discover and share knowledge about plants and their environment in order to preserve and enrich life. Throughout the partnership, the Garden has fulfilled their mission for enriching life with the participants of the Arc’s Community Engagement program.
Currently participants of the Metro CE site volunteer at the Garden for three hours each Tuesday and Thursday. Individuals empty, soak, scrub, wash, sanitize, and stack gardening pots. The various planting pots are used by the Garden when planting seedlings for their greenhouses before being transplanted into the garden for our viewing pleasure. The spring and summer planting seasons bring an excess of pots and, consequently, an increased need for the volunteers.
CE participants are extremely involved in their roles and tasks, choosing what they want to do each day. The majority of the tasks at the Garden are able to be completed independently, with minimal instruction or support from staff. The participants love to help the Garden and stay focused and motivated by listening to music while they work.
Consistent and Dedicated
Tiffany Watson, Production Supervisory Nursery – Horticulture, supervises the CE group at the Garden. Tiffany shared that the CE volunteers are essential. “Everyone relies on the group washing the pots,” Tiffany stated. “To have a consistent and dedicated group come in and do this essential work – we really appreciate them.”
The staff at the Garden are truly inclusive of the Arc participants. The CE volunteers are invited to participate in volunteer recognition luncheons, appreciations, and other Garden activities. Tiffany added “we are often impressed with how much they are able to get done, we love working with the group.”
The CE program looks forward to exploring additional areas of the volunteer program at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and expanding upon the talents the participants have to offer. The Arc truly appreciates this long-standing partnership with the Garden, and their commitment to supporting people with disabilities in the St. Louis community.