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The Garden Club of Windham - Minutes of Annual Meeting (April 2023)

Mill Museum Dugan Building

Call to order - 6:35pm, Barbara Wright, Co-President presiding


In Attendance – MarieAnne Beauchesne, Jean DeSmet, Roberta Dwyer, Tim Dwyer, Barbara Gibson, Elizabeth Huebner, Matt Ignatowicz, Roland Johnson, Faith Kenton, Marty LaVoy, Pat Miller, Susan Newcombe, Jay Osborne, Daniel Phipps, Ursula Roskoski, Linda Roy, Debbie Stoloff, Carole Williamson, Barbara Wright, Pam Wright.


In Memoriam: Faith Kenton, Marty LaVoy, and Carole Williamson spoke briefly in recognition of Lynn Keleher who had been a mainstay of the Garden Club since its beginning and recently passed away.


Minutes of the meeting held on 2/22/2023 were read and unanimously accepted.


Financial Report – Garden Club assets as of 4/10/2023 submitted by Budget and Finance Chair

Jennifer Duchesne, read by Barbara Wright:

  • Friends of the GOB checking - $38,733.46

  • Garden Club Checking - $10,293.49

  • Garden Club Savings - $8,505.12

  • Pay Pal - $29.43

Slate of officers – read and unanimously accepted for the coming year

  • Co-Presidents: Barbara Wright and Jay Osborne

  • Secretary: Ursula Roskoski Treasurer: Patty Spruance

  • Budget and Finance: Jennifer Duchesne

  • Membership Committee: Debbie Stoloff

  • Public Spaces: Faith Kenton

  • Wildlife Habitat: Pam Wright and Jean DeSmet

  • Friends of the Garden on the Bridge ad hoc committee: Faith Kenton

  • Board Members at large: Marty LaVoy and Carole Williamson


Committee Reports on Plans and Goals

Wildlife Habitat/Pollinator Pathway - Pam Wright stated that in September 2022 the City of

Willimantic received its eleventh year certification, sponsored by the National Wildlife

Federation, as a nationally recognized Community Wildlife Habitat. She emphasized that this has

been due to the hard work of Garden Club members who have put in many hours in securing and

planting native plants, creating pollinator spots that contribute to the national Pollinator

Pathway Project, educating local citizens about wildlife habitats at public events and on social

media, working with students and volunteers on numerous workdays to maintain garden sites and more.


Jean DeSmet reported that Michael Culbertson has worked hard, with funding from an Urban Forest Grant, on planning for and planting native trees, especially along the East Coast Greenway from Mackey's to Rte 203.


Public Spaces - Faith Kenton stated that we are a Public Space group and the Garden Club maintains many beautiful gardens throughout the city, although fewer than in the past. We have lots of wonderful new volunteers to help continue that work.


Friends of Garden on the Bridge - Faith Kenton reported that a flyer has recently gone out to

members announcing a fund-raising project to upgrade the Garden on the Bridge. In addition to

crowdfunding donations which will be matched by SustainabilityCT.com, art work of the bridge area was solicited and will be displayed for purchase at an art show to be held on April 13 at the new Senior/Community Center.


Membership - Debbie Stoloff reported that the Garden Club has 64 members (reminder - 24 have not yet paid yearly dues!) and several members from before have rejoined. Jay Osborne has been busy recruiting, and there are 6 new members, several of whom are quite active.


Upcoming Events

  • Thursday, April 13: Art Sale, Fundraiser and 3rd Birthday Party, benefit of the Garden on the

  • Bridge, 6-8 pm, Senior/Community Center, 1 Jillson Square, Willimantic, CT 06226.

  • Saturday, May 20: 10 am - 1 pm, Plant Sale at the home of Faith Kenton, 246 North Street, Willimantic, CT.

  • Tuesday, June 6: Open Garden Tour, 5-7 pm at the home of Delia Berlin and David Corsini, 251 Walnut Street, then around the corner to the home of Pat Calvo and Peter Huckins at 16 Washburn Street, Willimantic, CT with the theme of "What can you do with a small garden?"

Points of interest -

Discussion on Plant Sale: Barbara mentioned that last year Lynn White managed the entire plant sale beautifully from start to finish and that we need someone to step forward for this year. Marty LaVoy, Carole Williamson, Susan Newcombe and Faith Kenton volunteered.


Discussion on Growing Membership: Jay Osborne stated that he keeps the membership forms with him and talks to people while canvassing the Main Street businesses. Pat Miller mentioned that we might suggest that people buy memberships as gifts for others. Elizabeth Huebner suggested that great photos make very good publicity in articles to interest others in Garden Club activities. Daniel Phipps suggested that we might institute different levels of membership.


Additional Activities: Jay Osborne stated that he has seen that street dances can be a popular way of bringing people together and this would highlight use of the space at the Garden on the Bridge. Elizabeth Huebner mentioned needing electricity at the Amp and other areas for amplification if we continue concerts on the Bridge. A young woman has stepped forward and wants to use the Amp to video a dance performance. Carole Williamson encouraged us to create holiday lighting for the Bridge using repurposed water bottles.


Barbara Wright mentioned that, re: the newsletter, she is always very happy for donations of

photos, articles, information, stories, book reviews, etc.


Next Meeting – TBD


Adjourned – 7:55 pm

Respectfully submitted by Ursula Roskoski


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