United Way Day of Caring
Each year the United Way of Danbury sponsors a Day of Caring in which local corporations encourage their employees to volunteer their time and energy helping the local community. We have had many such volunteers from various corporations over the years. Praxair is one of them.
Tarrywile Park is considered an “Authority” by the City of Danbury; therefore, we are not 100% funded anymore by the City. Instead, we are given a yearly grant which has steadily decreased over the years since the Park was purchased by the City of Danbury. This is where our volunteers are a necessary addition to the upkeep of the park. Our grounds and building staff consists of one full-time, one part-time, and one seasonal employee, we rely heavily on our corporate volunteers and other groups to assist us in keeping Tarrywile Park the beautiful oasis that everyone loves.
Our Children’s Garden
One area of the Park that is constantly in need of attention is our Children’s Garden. The Garden is located at the base of the hill on Southern Boulevard. It was originally created as a Japanese Garden and is now a fun place for children to play. It boasts a playhouse, a butterfly bush maze, two goldfish ponds, a bridge leading to a troll house, and illustrated picnic tables for families to stop and have lunch. With the number of flowering plants and bushes in that area, there is a constant need for the grounds staff to handle the weeding, mulching, mowing, and trimming of the grass. This is where our volunteers help us tremendously. Their volunteer work enables our grounds staff to concentrate on other parts of the 722 acres that are in need of care.
Dirty Jobs, No Problem
No job is too small or too dirty for the dedicated volunteers from Praxair. The two goldfish ponds were in desperate need of dredging, when asked if anyone was interested, two of the men stepped up and said; “Hand us the waders and gloves and we’ll get right on it.” Our own guys weren’t enthusiastic about dredging the ponds but these two went right in and got the job done despite the mud, muck, and stink.
Historic Mansion Upkeep
Having a Mansion that is over a century old to maintain is a constant challenge, and aside from the large issues like plumbing and electricity, painting has become a constant requirement. The Praxair volunteers spend a good portion of their time painting our beautiful veranda railing, columns, the lattice work around the kitchen entrance as well as the woodwork on our much-used gazebo. The veranda and gazebo are parts of the property that are used often for weddings, special events, and photo shoots. We could not easily stay on top of this task if it weren’t for our corporate and group volunteers.
Since we receive less than fifty percent of our budget in a grant from the City, the Tarrywile Park Authority is responsible for coming up with the other fifty percent. We do this through fundraising and Mansion rentals. In order to attract enough clients through Mansion rentals the building and surrounding grounds must be kept in show-worthy condition. The painting is one part of the presentation, the surrounding grounds are another. The volunteers from Praxair as well as other volunteer groups help keep the grounds looking pristine by weeding, mulching, and trimming the flowers and bushes.
Our volunteer groups that come on a regular basis usually have specific areas in which they like to work. One area that is popular is trimming back the brush and small trees out on the trail system. Tarrywile Park has 21 miles of trails that require constant maintenance. Quite a few of our regular hikers will often bring a garbage bag with them and pick up garbage and cans along the trails as they go. Others, like a few of the Praxair volunteers, go out with clippers and gloves and cut back any brush that is encroaching on the trails making it difficult to navigate. Trail work is a constant need at Tarrywile Park.
With Gratitude to All Our Volunteers
As you can see, Tarrywile Park faces many challenges in keeping your park the beautiful oasis you all love. We cannot do it without you, our volunteers, for which we are eternally grateful. Your gift of time and energy enables us to continue creating a green space where hikers, walkers, families, and pets can come to experience a little bit of nature in our ever-increasing urban landscape.