SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Springfield Botanical Garden is working through the winter to bring more people to Nathanael Greene Park in the spring.
In some areas of the park, the city does not have enough resources to fix everything. That means volunteers from Friends of the Garden and other park organizations must maintain some things on their own.
Don and Nancy Schmidt stood in eight inches of muck at the
bottom of the koi pond at the
"Believe it or not, it's actually easier to move when it's frozen," he said cheerfully.
Frozen or not it was a dirty job, one the Schmidts actually volunteered to do.
"We retired and we came to this place and this park,"
"Someone's got to do it," Don added. "The parks guys just have their hands full. They don't have the manpower to do it."
He said the Springfield-Greene Co. Park Board supplied many
of the materials and some of the labor necessary to maintain the 7.5 acre
But he said the city resources were not enough to replace many of the worn boulders and lanterns in the park or clean out the koi ponds.
"This will all be raked out," she said, pointing to a particularly dirty part of the ponds. "We're putting in new boulders."
She said the ornamental garden is nearly 30 years old, and starting to show its age.
"It doesn't have to do with flowers," she said. "It's a very intricate kind of work."
The Park Board depends on FOG and other volunteer groups to work where needed and assist in the planning of the park. Katie Steinhoff, the Botanical Gardens Supervisor, said volunteers make everything at the park run smoothly. They are also raising money for name cards to put in front of various plant species around the park.
"In the last year I think I've logged 16 thousand hours just from volunteers who work in this park," Steinhoff said.
She added that there are hours left to do before the park gates open in the spring.
"Winter's a great time for us to resettle and take a look at the garden," she said.
Schmidt remarked that the FOG volunteers preferred to work outside of normal visiting hours.
"We still have all these heavy projects to do like cleaning out the canals or cleaning out the ponds," he said. "The winter's the best time to do it because there's no one in here but us."