Volunteer Award Recipients
Volunteers are crucial to the success of the Garden and are honored at the annual Thanks for Giving luncheons in Atlanta and Gainesville.
2018 Volunteer of the Year
Regular Thursday night Garden visits with her daughter led Charlotte Miller to start volunteering here in 2013, first in Discovery Stations, then also as a GEM, a Docent, in the greenhouse and with amphibian conservation, with tours and special events galore, even steaming tablecloths and addressing last-minute escort cards as needed.
In a word, Charlotte volunteers everywhere, this year logging over 600 hours as Root of the Garden for the fourth time. A typical volunteer day for Charlotte starts with leading a morning tour, helping with amphibians and making turtle salad in the afternoon, then staying to assist with an evening class or event.
“She is such an asset for the Garden,” says Heather Rice, Family Programs Coordinator. “She can be stationed anywhere and know exactly what to do. Her versatility along with her amazing attitude about working here and engaging guests and other volunteers is something we lean on to ensure programs run smoothly.” Other staff echo that praise with accolades like “She is an unforgettable force!” and “She is a joy and a treasure! We are so, so fortunate to have her here.” As one staff member puts it: “There are not enough positive words to describe her!” Little wonder that Charlotte Miller was a nearly unanimous choice as 2018 Volunteer of the Year.
2018 Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lifetime Achievement recognition is not an annual award. In fact, in the Garden’s 43-year history, there have been only seven members in this club. This award is reserved for volunteers who not only provide outstanding service to the Garden but continue that service for years without fail, and is only presented when a volunteer truly stands alone in his or her support, reliability and commitment to the Garden over the course of decades. This year, that special recognition was presented to longtime volunteer Nancy Waterfill.
Nancy started at the Garden in 1989 in the Garden Gift Shop, at the time housed in a trailer. She has volunteered in the same place, for the same shift, the same day and same time, once a week for the entire 30 years. Amazingly consistent, she was a member of the 1991 Centennial Club class and has given over 100 hours of annual service nearly every year since. Described by staff as dependable, dedicated and enthusiastic, she is a two time Volunteer of the Month and has volunteered during the many new additions and changes through the years, always with a smile and a sly and funny wit. The Garden is grateful and proud to add Nancy’s name to its history books.
2017 Volunteer of the Year
Kathy’s service to the Garden began in 2009 after nearly 40 years as a Librarian. She is an expert in her profession, volunteering in the libraries of course, but also as a docent and during events.
Kathy leads tours and has served as Docent Field Trip Chair and Docent Food Committee Chair. You’ll also find her volunteering for events like the Concerts in the Garden, Garden Lights, Holiday Nights, the Reindog Parade and children’s events throughout the year. She was invaluable last year when the library received a donation of nearly 500 rare orchid books, all of which needed cataloging.
She made Centennial Club every year 2009-2017, and was Volunteer of the Month in 2013 and 2017. She volunteered for 200 or more hours 2015-2017. As if that weren’t enough, she enlisted her husband to join her.
2016 Volunteer of the Year
Jack Nolan started volunteering in 2004 and is a trusted, reliable volunteer, taking on challenging tasks in a timely and professional manner. In the conservatory, he has built water features, constructed new planting areas and helps with projects in the headhouse and Conservation Garden. His plant maintenance, including dividing and repotting, planting, transplanting, watering, and sweeping.
“Jack takes on any task with a smile and a positive attitude,” said his supervisor, Conservatory Manager Paul Blackmore, “His gracious, friendly manner and easy laugh have made him a favorite with visitors and staff alike. It takes a special person to make it nearly 15 years in the conservatory. He is a key part of the team, a trusted assistant, and we are quite honored to have him around. He’s my right-hand man.”
2015 Volunteer of the Year
A three-time volunteer of the month, Anita Wallace started volunteering in 2000 as a docent after the Children’s Garden opened, and now regularly assists at events like Concerts in the Garden, Garden Lights, Holiday Nights, and the Gardens for Connoisseurs Tour. Her true passion was realized when she started volunteering with amphibians. Wallace spends her time in the Frog Lab and Amphibian Display Areas collecting and growing insects for frog feedings, making algae plates for tadpoles, misting display tanks, and making salads for the turtles.
According to her supervisor, Wallace revolutionized the way the Garden keeps baby frogs by first suggesting the use of tulle (the fabric used in a ballerina’s tutu) as a lid for the baby frogs to keep the tiny bugs in the tanks. This technique has been adopted by other institutions that have amphibian captive breeding programs.
2014 Volunteer of the Year
Bob Holmes is always willing to assist, whether it’s pulling weeds, outplanting seedlings, plotting plant locations or leading tours. He donated more than 200 hours in the three years leading up to his award. He was also the March 2013 Volunteer of the Month and is a Root of the Garden for top volunteer hours.
“We are pleased to have such a renaissance man, knowledgeable in so many areas and helping in nearly every aspect of the volunteer program, as our 2014 Volunteer of the Year,” Garden President & CEO Mary Pat Matheson said in presenting the award at last fall’s annual Volunteer Luncheon.
2013 Volunteer of the Year
Since 1989, Judie Taylor has volunteered in nearly every role, from docent tour guide to garden maintenance helper to Fuqua Orchid Center assistant. She has been a member of the Centennial Club, volunteering more than 100 hours annually, every year since 1997 and was named a Volunteer of the Month three times.
“For more than 20 years, Judie has shared her time and talent and incredible dedication to the Garden and its staff, and it is a great honor to present her with this award,” said Volunteer Manager, Josh Todd.
2013 Lifetime Achievement Award
Kathryn LaTour is one of only seven volunteers to receive this coveted award.
Named Volunteer of the Year in 2008, LaTour has donated more than 7,000 hours to the Garden since 1987. She has been a member of the Centennial Club since 1993; been named a Root of the Garden (an award for top volunteer hours) six times; and was Volunteer of the Month twice.
According to Volunteer Manager Josh Todd, her docent tours are considered a treat by visitors because she educates and entertains.