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December President's Circle Letter

Japanese Garden

Dear President’s Circle Member,

Earlier this month, I took a walk before heading back to my office after attending the Chicago Botanic Garden’s holiday volunteer potluck luncheon. I was thinking about the women and men whose delicious food and good conversation I had just enjoyed. I was feeling deeply moved by the dedication and experience of our nearly 1,300 volunteers; without them, the Chicago Botanic Garden would simply not be the great garden it is. Their extraordinarily generous commitment to the Garden in all seasons plays an absolutely essential role in this living museum’s ability to bring joy and healing to a million people a year. 

I walked out of the Regenstein Center, through the English Walled Garden, up over the Dwarf Conifer Garden, and around the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden before heading back to my desk. All around me, the season’s first wonderland unfolded—nearly two weeks before winter’s official start. Sunlight sparkled through whirls of wind-driven snow; tracks of birds and squirrels stamped the frozen blanket enveloping the grounds. Bundled up, my footsteps crunching along the path, I felt both peaceful and energized, and inspired to take some photos (including the one you see here). While by February I will be much less dazzled by snowfall (by then I suspect we will all be far from that first magical enjoyment of downward-drifting snowflakes), for now, though, I wish you the joy of snow, with the beauty and calm it brings to our landscape and to our spirit.

The Garden in all of its facets and seasons gives us each so much. I ask that you do as my family and I do each year—give back to it with a gift to the Annual Fund. If you have not made your Annual Fund gift yet, I encourage you to do so. I hope this video of thanks from some of our Green Youth Farm students will inspire you to give. Your support makes everything we accomplish at the Garden possible.

With warm wishes and much gratitude,

Sophia Shaw
President and CEO