Wellfield Botanic Gardens, Inc.
Board of Directors
Thomas Pletcher, Chairman
Charles Grodnik, Vice Chairman
Geoffrey Church, Secretary
Kimberly Clarke, Treasurer
Wellfield Botanic Gardens, Inc.
Historical Overview and Vision
From our vision; Wellfield Botanic Gardens accepts as truth; mankind is inseparable from nature. Therefore, the Gardens will provide a natural and man-made environment of unique beauty that attracts, inspires, and educates in a setting dedicated to the celebration of nature and art.
Our purpose; to educate, entertain, and attract. The overlying purpose of Wellfield Botanic Gardens is to tirelessly promote the inseparable relationship between water, plants and animals. It will be a source for inspiration, creativity and education in a setting dedicated to the celebration of nature. The Gardens will be a place that fosters a sense of responsibility, a sense of stewardship for the natural world, a place that brings people together for events, concerts, reunions and a place that draws visitors into our community. Nature and the Gardens provides a spiritual richness to life that is an essential part of being human.
Conceived as a community service project in 2002, the idea of creating a public garden to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Rotary International became a reality for the Elkhart Rotary Club in the spring of 2003. For over two years the Club worked with a community steering committee to study the concept, interview landscape architects, and raised $235,000, from club members, to create the Master Plan for Wellfield Botanic Gardens. In February of 2005, this project was officially handed over to the Gardens’ board of directors to begin building to the Master Plan. The Gardens is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation that derives all of its operating capital, development costs, and endowment from private donations, user fees, memberships and grants.
The Gardens is situated on 36 acres, six blocks north of downtown Elkhart on a historical piece of property known as the North Main Street well field. This site has been a source of hydraulic energy and drinking water for the City of Elkhart since the middle 1800’s. Currently the City’s Department of Public Works operates 13 wells on the site and it is the City’s largest source of drinking water.
Today, this exciting project of the Master Plan’s 24 gardens, event spaces, Visitors Center and Horticultural Center is being developed on the site to cooperatively work with Public Works’ mandate and the natural attributes of the site created by the flow of Christiana Creek. The Gardens has created an unparalleled opportunity to educate its visitors about the importance of fresh water, native habitat, conservation and the sustainability of our environment.
There will be three learning sites devoted to the study and sustainability of fresh water. The Woodland conservation Garden will emphasize the importance of our native hardwood forest and the native wildflowers that inhabit this environment. The Wetlands Learning Center is devoted to the restoration and education of shorelines and wetlands of our streams, rivers, lakes and ponds. The Children’s Garden is devoted to playing outdoors, learning how things grow, and the relationship of plants and water to all living things.
Because fresh water is the most important global issue facing the world’s population today and forever forward. Because many parts of the United States are beginning to experience a shortage of fresh water, it is paramount that every individual comprehend and practice sustainable water resources. If we don’t understand our relationship with nature, how can we hope to respect our world? It is our belief that the development of Wellfield Botanic Gardens is unique to the Midwest and maybe all of the United States as a public garden and an educational outreach facility. With its site amenities, the focus on fresh water and the inspirational and natural setting, the Gardens will provide the visitor with a unique opportunity of education, inspiration, and enjoyment.