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Minutes of the Board Meeting of 1/25/24

The Garden Club of Windham - Minutes of Board Meeting, 1/25/2024

Call to order – 6:30 pm, Barbara Wright, co-chairman presiding

In Attendance – Faith Kenton, Jay Osborne, Daniel Phipps, Ursula Roskoski, Debbie Stoloff, Carole Williamson, Barbara Wright, Pam Wright.

Minutes of the Board meeting held on 12/7/2023 were unanimously accepted as they had been

posted on-line previously for members to access and read.

Purpose – The purpose of the meeting was to finalize the Mission and Values statement of the

Garden Club of Windham, to establish criteria for GCW sponsorship of a garden, to affirm which town gardens will be currently sponsored and maintained by the Garden Club, and to review and to approve a Pageau grant proposal for maintenance of the High Street Hillside garden.

Mission and Values Statement – Proposed values of the GCW as had been outlined at the

meeting of December 7, 2023 are as follows:

• Promote environmental protection and natural approaches to gardening

• Beautify the Town of Windham to present a welcoming face to town residents and visitors

• Improve the quality of life and image of the Town; increase civic pride and sense of ownership

• Educate the community, including young people and the underserved, by increasing their

knowledge and appreciation of our natural environment as well as a sense of belonging

• Enjoy the company of like-minded people who find meaning and joy in gardening and the

natural world

There was little discussion as the members present had participated in the original drafting of these values. One editorial change was to strike “as well as a sense of belonging” and insert the phrase “through gardening.” Ursula stated that for a final draft she would prefer a narrative rather than bulleted format, and it was agreed that there will be further work to incorporate these into a final Mission and Policy document. A motion was made to accept the above values and mission as a primary part of a finalized Mission statement, the motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

Garden Club sponsorship – To qualify as a GCW-sponsored public garden, a garden should:

• Have a steward who oversees maintenance

• Be regularly maintained by GC members/volunteers

• Be manageable to maintain in terms of size, planting, layout, size, location, and proximity to

water, if needed

• Support the GCW mission to beautify the community, contribute to civic pride

• Support pollinators, wildlife, environmental protection

• Support the educational mission of the club through training for garden tenders

• Inspire interest in gardening, good gardening practices

• Enhance the GCW’s standing in the community

• Be distinguished from gardens where the GCW may advise but does not assume responsibility

for long-term care

Barbara mentioned that these criteria break down into two parts, with the first three items relating to maintenance, and the next six items related to promotion of the GCW’s mission. There was some discussion on a couple of points. (1.) Pam mentioned that the use of the word “steward” harkens back to a previous attempt by the club that never really got off the ground to formalize maintenance. It was agreed to change the word to “monitor.” Dan, chair of the Public Spaces committee, stated that to help with this, he plans to have a meeting at the beginning of each season to discuss the needs of the various gardens. (2.) The second point was on the question of what makes a garden manageable. Jay pointed out that the third item in the list of criteria has the word “size” twice, and perhaps that could be changed to “manpower for maintenance”. It was decided that the overall criterion for inclusion in the list of GCW-sponsored gardens is that the garden have someone interested in maintaining it. A motion was made to accept the list of proposed criteria, the motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

Selection of Gardens – From a list of 14 gardens shown on the GCW website along with a map, the board went through the list and chose twelve. Two that were not included in the choice were the Memorial Park garden and the Heritage Park garden. Twelve that were chosen were: Hoppy Days Diner, now Thread City Diner II (there was some discussion on whether or not this included maintenance of the window boxes, in addition to the pocket garden on the side of the building); Main Street Cafe (two gardens); Willimantic Public Library garden; Schilberg Butterfly garden; Garden on the Bridge gardens (the GCW’s raison d’etre!); Windham History and Textile Museum garden; WHTM/Dugan Building garden (on Union Street side); Julia de Burgos Park garden; Footbridge garden; Whitewater Park garden; E. Coast Greenway/Airline Trail (now called Willimantic River Trail); High Street Hillside garden.

Pageau Grant – This grant proposal is being submitted to the Pageau Foundation by Faith on behalf of the GCW for upcoming maintenance of the High Street Hillside garden. It was mentioned that this is a very prominent garden at a major entrance to the city from the highway. A motion was made to accept the grant proposal for submission, motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

Next Meeting – TBD

Adjourned – 8:00 pm

Respectfully submitted by Ursula Roskoski

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