Zilker Garden Fest

The Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin held its annual Spring Garden Fest this weekend.  This is the primary fund raising event for the Garden Center, where we raise money to pay the Center employees, maintain the building that garden clubs use for their meetings, and fund education programs.  The Garden proper is owned by the City’s Parks and Recreation Department (PARD), and the people who maintain the Gardens are PARD employees.  Debra is vendor co-chairman this year:  she and her counterpart got vendors to pay for booth space, and handled the hundreds of details involved in getting the vendors into and out of the park, and keeping them happy while they’re there.

The Garden Fest is run almost exclusively by volunteers.  There are only a handful of paid PARD employees who maintain the gardens–everybody else who worked over the weekend is a volunteer.  There were over 400 of us selling tickets, selling drinks (we had vendors for the food), manning the information booth, providing transportation in golf carts, providing information, and generally helping out.  It’s heartening to see so many people give their time to help out the Gardens.

Too many people think that charitable giving consists of giving money to a worthy cause.  Although it’s true that we can use money, many organizations need time.  If you want to help out, volunteer your time to a cause that interests you.  Not only do you get the satisfaction of “making a difference,” but you also might learn something.  I’ve learned a lot from working with people at the Gardens.  If you’re interested in building, volunteer with your local Habitat for Humanity or similar group.  You’ll learn more than you’d ever need about building a house.  There are hundreds of organizations that would greatly appreciate whatever time you can give them.  And it’s a heck of a lot more interesting (and healthier, too) than sitting in front of the TV all weekend.