Bookworm Gardens

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Bookworm Gardens is a botanical garden consisting of 65 different spaces that was created to reflect children's literature. The mission behind Bookworm Gardens is to ensure the enrichment and education of children in a creative and environmental atmosphere. This magical garden that is hidden in Wisconsin is a grassroots non-profit organization that thrives through its supportive community. Members of the community are able to volunteer, donate, and enjoy the exploration possibilities - any and all ages - within the garden. Where one can find a full-sized “Magic School Bus” whilst planting poppies,[1] this botanical garden has a world of adventure to offer.

The Magic School Bus featured at Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan, WI.

Early Stages

From 1956 to 2010, there was a similar concept already created. In Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, there was a botanical garden called Storybook Gardens. However, the concept for Bookworm Gardens would go beyond fairy tales. In 1999, “a woman in Sheboygan, Wisconsin named Sandy Livermore had an idea – she wanted to bring books to life one garden at a time.”[2] After Livermore successfully raised 2.8 million dollars to fund this project by giving presentations to book clubs, church organizations, corporations, and individuals.[3] Bookworm Gardens set out to, and successfully pursued, offer a variety of historical, classical, and contemporary titles that were featured within interactive activities.[4] Construction for Bookworm Gardens started in 2008 and has been located in Sheboygan, Wisconsin since its creation in 2010. The Sheboygan community overall created this environmental cite. Local artists were hired, community members volunteered their time to clear and construct the area; over 1000 individuals donated their time and strengths into creating Bookworm Gardens.[5]


Funding

In August, 2012, the J.M. Kohler Foundation donated $450,000 visitor center to the young and still developing Bookworm Gardens. This was named the Hansel and Gretel Learning Cottage.[6] In July, 2017, the USA Today Network selected Bookworm Gardens to receive a $50,000 grant from the Gannett Foundation in order to support a new program within the gardens. This program offered new opportunities to artists in the community.[7] Following in October, the American Legion Auxiliary, Sheboygan County gave Bookworm Gardens $2,500, which would be their first installment of a $7,500 sponsorship to fund an addition of a permanent garden.[8] As of 2017, these are the corporate sponsors: Kohler, Vollrath, Sargento, Bank First National, Entourage Salon and Spa, Just Orthodontics, Greenscape Lawn and Lanscape LLC, American Orthodontics, Sheboygan Paint Company, Lawatha National Bank, and GT Graphics.[9] Thanks to these generous companies, sponsors, and awards, Bookworm Gardens is able to continuously thrive and expand.

Donations

Bookworm Gardens Endowment Fund is a resource found on Bookworm Gardens’ website. The Endowment Fund offers an opportunity for anyone to donate any amount. The idea behind the Endowment Fund is to ensure the facilities financial stability.[10] When accessing Bookworm Gardens’ official website, viewers have the automatic option to select “donate” instead of “learn more”, which rather grants access to the website. A massive reason Bookworm Gardens is as successful as it is today is solely due to the community's donations and overwhelming support.

Modern Day

As of the end of 2017, Bookworm Gardens is still thriving and located at 1415 Campus Drive, Sheboygan, WI. Bookworm Gardens is open May first through October 31st, including holidays. The literacy and environmental center's hours are Monday through Saturday 10:00AM-4:00PM; Sunday 12:00PM-4:00PM.[11] During the winter season, Bookworm Gardens sometimes offers special holiday events as well, like a day class on creating holiday wreaths. There are no admission fees to enter the gardens throughout its typical scheduled seasonal hours - This group solely thrives on community donations or awards.[12] Bookworm Gardens is wheelchair accessible and strollers are permitted[13]; From hosting field trips from any age leveled school from the Sheboygan Area School District to a family having a picnic, the botanical garden has a great deal to offer for all visitors. It is an excellent place for individuals to appreciate the environment, literacy, and the community. Bringing in guests from all over Wisconsin and neighboring states, this incredible space really does make quite the large boom in the standard small town of Sheboygan.

The outer-landscape view of Bookworm Gardens.

References

  1. [ http://www.bookwormgardens.org/photo-gallery] Bookworm Gardens – Photo Gallery. Accessed Dec 1, 2017.
  2. [1] Our Story - Bookworm Gardens. Accessed Nov 30, 2017.
  3. [2] Bookworm Gardens – History. Accessed Nov 30, 2017.
  4. [http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/on-wisconsin-bookworm-gardens-in-sheboygan-brings-storybooks-to-life/article_4df8f90e-eeda-11e1-b2dd-0019bb2963f4.html} WI State Journal. Accessed Nov 29, 2017.
  5. [3] Bookworm Gardens – History. Accessed Dec 2, 2017.
  6. [4] WI State Journal. Accessed Nov 30, 2017.
  7. [5] Sheboygan Press. Accessed Nov 30, 2017.
  8. [6] Sheboygan County Chamber. Accessed Dec 1, 2017.
  9. [7] Sponsors - Bookworm Gardens. Accessed Dec 1, 2017.
  10. [8] Bookworm Gardens - Donations. Accessed Dec 4, 2017.
  11. [9] Bookworm Gardens - Home. Accessed Nov 30, 2017.
  12. [10] Sheboygan Press. Accessed Nov 30, 2017.
  13. [11] Journal Sentinel – Travel Wisconsin. Accessed Dec 3, 2017.

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