Wild Ones Volunteers Made the Event a Success! 

| Blog, Special Event


Wild Ones Volunteers Made the Event a Success! 

A thank you note from Marti MacArthur, Vice President and chairperson for the NPEG Garden Tour and Plant Sale. 

Although the temperatures were high and the winds at times gusty, the sixth annual Wild Ones River City Chapter Garden Tour & Plant Sale was a fun evening and a successful fundraiser for our organization. This success was a direct result of all the willing efforts of those who volunteered their time, knowledge and stamina to make sure that people felt welcome and could avail themselves of plants, books, and Wild Ones “swag.” Attendees were also able to ask questions and pick up resources and information about native plants. They were able to see 75 different species of plants in the gardens and get answers to questions they might have about their own gardens.

This evening was a success because Wild Ones River City members and volunteers give willingly of their time and energy to make this organization a strong proponent and source of education about the importance of native plants in our gardens and landscapes. When people were asked to volunteer they did and most worked the entire evening, many without a break.

The response of willing volunteers was so impressive. I would like to thank each of you for your willingness to help in any way you could. I would like to thank, Eric Piehl, Tom MacArthur, Linda Gary, Marty Arnold, Marty MacCleery, Amy Heilman, Lea Sevigny, Ann Nowak, Tammy Lundeen, Deb Montgomery, Ruth and Mark Oldenburg, Diane Lange, Keith Edwards, John and Jeanne Van Kammen, Mindy and Jon Miner and everyone else who helped with setting up and taking down the event.

I would also like to thank Betsy Ford, Linda Dodge, Alan Bedell and Sister Lucille Janowiak for welcoming each visitor as they arrived. At the Education Committee table where the sun’s heat was intense, Chris Muldoon, Marty MacCleery, Nancy Bedell,and Denise Coykendall graciously answered questions and provided information and resources for those who stopped by wanting to learn more about native plants and their importance in our landscapes. The Education Committee made the label stakes for many of the plants and on Monday, before the event started, Barb Olson and Barb Zvirzdinis also worked on this task.

Barb Zvirzdinis was an amazing salesperson at the CaféPress and book sales table. All but one of the featured books sold along with other items that help support our Wild OnesChapter. Keasha Palmer, Diane Lange,and kept an eye on the auction items as well as encouraged people to participate in the auction.



Many thanks to our growers, She is Growing Wild / Tammy Lundeen, Go Grow Natives / Deb Montgomery, and Designs By Nature/ Vern Stephens. Deb and Tammy not only raised many of the beautiful plants and shrubs, but they also offered their expert advice to people with their plant choices. Camilla Voelker, John and Patti Wojtowicz, Linda Gary, Linda Ortman, Diana Rueland Lea Sevigny assisted customers choosing plants and helped bring the plants to their cars. Jack Pruit was also offering help and advice to customers near the plant sale tables.

Kim and Cathy Evanzoformerly of Creekside Garden Center donated 36 large size perennials to our sale. Thank you so much for your support of Wild Ones! Kim still has many native and non-native shrubs and trees he wants to sell at very good prices. They have perennials too…all for very discounted prices. Give them a call at 616-443-8916 if you want to shop or ask about species!

Our Garden Chair, Amy Heilman, not only directed the redesign of the gardens, she was instrumental in organizing the Serve and Learn sessions, cataloging all of the species and making sure that the plants were accurately labeled so that visitors could see the beauty of native plants in a garden. At the event, she answered questions from visitors about native plants.

We are grateful to artist, Barbara McConnell who donated her two beautiful, original oil paintings for our Silent Auction and for her generous monetary donation. A BIG THANK YOU to Barbara!


Many thanks to our Program Chair, Gabrielle Tremblay Sullivanwho donated the beeBOX™ an ecologically beneficial home for native pollinators, from her company the Friendly Bees. Lucky member Diane Lange’s bid won the beeBOX™.

Ruth Oldenburg designed and printed all of the signs, posters and the postcard that publicized the event. Her husband, Mark, worked as a cashier at the checkout table along with Ruth, Mindy MinerLinda Gary, and our treasurer, Ann Nowak. Ann’s husband Chip Chamberlain made wooden stakes to sell with our garden signs.

I am grateful for Mindy Miner and her husband Jon, who not only rented, hauled, loaded and unloaded the heavy tables and chairs, and then returned them, but also for helping with setting up the tables and chairs as well as providing extra support at a critical time.

Joyce Tuharsky captured the event as our photographer.

Marty Arnold was so helpful by picking up the canopies and returning them. She also took some photos.

Linda Ortman and Diana Ruel volunteered to help where they could, and that was appreciated. I apologize to any person who worked and I missed mentioning their name.

Jesse Schulte, from Kent Conservation District, offered visitors helpful information on invasive plants.

Thank you to the Inner City Christian Federation for allowing us to have a native garden and hold the event on their property.

There was another group who helped make the evening a success, and that was all of the members and friends along with many new visitors, who came, enjoyed the plants and people and who purchased plants and shrubs.

Events don’t just happen; they involve the effort of many people working together towards a goal. On Monday, July 15, 2019, Wild OnesRiver City members demonstrated their commitment to making the organization a valuable resource in the community while having a lot of fun and possibly making some new friends.

Editor’s note: Thank you to our wonderful Vice President and Event Chairperson, Marti MacArthur who coordinated the event for the second year in a row. Her good organizational skills made all aspects of the event run smoothly. Kudos to Marti!