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Chicago Resident Recognized for her Volunteer Work at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Rosemary Hart receives Barbara Whitney Carr Excellence in Leadership Award

Hannah Nowicki
(847) 835-6954, direct

Release Date: 
Tuesday, July 8, 2014

GLENCOE, IL (July 8, 2014) – Rosemary Hart, of Chicago, received the Barbara Whitney Carr Excellence in Leadership Award at a recent reception acknowledging the ongoing dedication and support of more than 2,000 volunteers at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The award was launched in 2007 to pay tribute to the retiring CEO and highlights the innovation of one dedicated volunteer. Tom Nissly, executive vice president of finance and administration and CFO, presented the award and further thanked all volunteers for their 112,000 hours of service in 2013, which is the equivalent of 55 additional staff.

Since starting her volunteer work at the Garden in 2000, Hart has contributed more than 4,200 hours of service. Hart utilizes her love for photography to provide the Garden with beautiful photographs by supporting the What’s in Bloom program. As a Living Plant Documentation volunteer team leader, Hart is responsible for facilitating orientations, organizing training and day-to-day operations. Hart has also been a valuable resource for the Lenhardt Library as she archives important documents into the library database. The work was especially important to the creation of a book celebrating the Garden’s 40th anniversary. Hart’s colleagues admire her passion and enthusiasm for nature and plants.

Rodger McDowall, a resident of Hoffman Estates, was named the 2013 Chicago Botanic Garden Volunteer of the Year. The award, launched in 1984, recognizes the spirit of volunteering by focusing attention on the contributions given by all volunteers as well as honoring one volunteer for his or her outstanding service. McDowall has contributed more than 2,800 hours of service since he began volunteering at the Garden in 2008 and has dedicated his time and leadership abilities to the Garden as a vital team member of Plant Information Services, Plant Production Outdoor Floriculture, Grounds Cover Newsletter Committee, the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, and The Orchid Show.

Rhoda Muchmore, a resident of Highland Park, was awarded the Five Star Customer Service Award for consistently going above and beyond to provide spectacular customer service to Garden visitors. Throughout her 20 years at the Garden, Muchmore has volunteered with weekend programs, special events, the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden, the membership desk in the Visitor Center and adult continuing education classes. Susie Mahon, also of Highland Park, was selected as the Garden’s Super Senior. Mahon has dedicated more than 3,500 hours of service supporting the Garden in countless ways. She’s known for her ability to brighten anyone’s day with her infectious positive attitude. Mahon has worked to maintain the plant collection in the Greenhouses, taught children with the Camp CBG team, welcomed visitors, and preserved seeds for the Dixon National Tallgrass Prairie Seed Bank Preparation Laboratory and Seed Bank at the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center.

Judy Cashen, director of volunteer administration and engagement, thanked all the volunteers for their important work and continued support of the Garden. Among their many contributions, the volunteers were instrumental in achieving a new visitation record of one million visitors to the Garden in 2013. Cashen was gleaming as she shared her experience working with this amazing group, saying, “It is humbling to be part of this wonderful organization with such great people. We could not do what we do without your support and friendship.” 

All volunteers were recognized for their contributions and support of the Garden, including those who volunteered for five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 35 years. 2013 marked 40 years of volunteering for Marilyn Alaimo, who has donated nearly 8,000 hours of her time to school programs, walking tours, the information desk, and Lenhardt Library. Each volunteer received a butterfly weed plant (Asclepias curassavica ‘Silky Formula Mix’) with a plant care description from Brian Clark, manager of plant production, who worked with the plant production team to grow the plants from seeds. 

For information on volunteer opportunities at the Chicago Botanic Garden, call (847) 835-8392 or visit the Garden’s website at


Editors, please note: For digital images, contact Jasmine Leonas at (847) 835-6829 or at

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