UBC Botanical Garden has a 40-year friendship you may not know about.
On February 24, 1976, Dr. Roy L. Taylor, the Garden’s director, placed a notice in the UBC Alumni Chronicle asking for a few green thumbs to help the garden grow. Midway through a ten-year development program, the Garden was about to expand their educational and informational activities and was searching for volunteer assistance to support the endeavor.
In the notice, the call stated, “Wanted: Alumni with green thumbs or wishing to cultivate [the] same…An interest in plants or gardening is the only prerequisite.” The budding horticulturists and lovers of green and growing things that replied were called the Friends of the UBC Botanical Garden, or the FOGs.
Seven people responded to that first call and the group was formed. Jo Bridge, one of the founding members, found about the FOGs through a friend and after attending her first meeting, she was here to stay. A gardener like most of the FOGs then and now, Bridge wanted to apply her mind to something new after staying home to raise her family.
“I think Roy wanted to turn us into botany students and it was great,” she reflected on the educational lectures that Taylor and other guest lecturers delivered to the group on a weekly basis.
Bridge has fond memories of the many educational trips the FOGs went on with David Tarrant, the Garden’s educational coordinator. The group travelled to botanical gardens and arboreta in California, New York, Alberta, and Philadelphia to learn about other volunteer groups and how they worked.
“We would go on these fantastic tours of the gardens and share successes and failures so we could learn from each other,” said Bridge.
Today, there are approximately 150 active members of the FOGs. They play a critical role in as ambassadors to the garden, fundraising and generating new membership for the Garden through their organizing efforts behind key Garden events such as the Apple Festival, the operation of the Shop in the Garden, and much more.
Submitted by Jessica Roberts-Farina, Work Learn Marketing & Communications Assistant, March 14, 2016