Wildflower is published quarterly by the Wildflower Center. Its content is national in scope with articles about the conservation and use of native plants as well as news from the Wildflower Center. A subscription is provided to Wildflower Center members as a benefit of membership.
True Believers by Priscilla Pipho - Fall 2002
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a wonderful place to be on a beautiful fall morning. The seasonal wildflowers are beginning to awaken, grass seedheads are nodding with the breeze, and just a hint of color touches the leaves in the trees. The Wildflower Center is a beehive of activity, and its mission has become a reality -- thanks to the many volunteers who conduct research, greet visitors, educate adults and children, and help garden.
They are everywhere. A group of people in hiking boots make their way toward the Center's Hill Country Trail, armed with surveying instruments to help implement the fall vegetation survey. Across the courtyard, visitors listen to a green-vested docent discuss the benefits of native plants, and in the Visitors Gallery a touring couple learns from yet another docent about the fall wildflower season in Central Texas. At the Courtyard Spring, a group of kids are gathering around a storyteller; in the display gardens, straw hats bob as plant beds are weeded; and over in the greenhouse area, dozens of folks busily tag flats for the plant sale.
Whether inside or out -- in the administration building or on the grounds -- visitors meet volunteers at every turn. These are unassuming, busy hands -- sometimes behind the scenes, frequently at the forefront, but always giving selflessly of their time. It soon becomes abundantly clear that without them the work of the Wildflower Center could not be done.
"Our volunteers give their most precious resource, their time, to the Wildflower Center," said Megan Murphy, director of volunteer services. And it doesn't matter from where they come. Center volunteers range in age and background from young to old; from retired engineers to ranchers; from schoolteachers to housewives; from former diplomats to practicing musicians. But they all have a passion for the Center's mission and love learning to help save the environment, restore the land, garden responsibly, and help share the message. "It's not just that they understand the mission," Murphy said. "They are the true believers."