Schedel offering free memberships for health care heroes

Press Staff Writer

        Schedel Arboretum & Gardens, 19255 W. Portage River South Rd., Elmore, is offering free, one-year family memberships to all local health care heroes and first responders.
        “In the face of this COVID-19 pandemic, we just thought it would be a good thing to do to recognize the folks that literally put their own lives on the line every day in their service to others.” said to Rod Noble, executive director at the 17-acre botanical gardens.
        “We aren’t limiting this offer to a geographical area; the only thing we ask is for some identification as either a health care worker or first responder,” he added.
        The one-year family membership is good for the 2020 season, through October, and includes all members of the health care hero’s immediate family. First responders and anyone who works in health care, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, physician offices and similar settings, are eligible.
        Also included with the membership is access to more than 300 other botanical gardens with the Schedel membership card through the Reciprocal Admissions Program of the American Horticultural Society.
        According to the director, the nonprofit botanical gardens has been impacted after being forced to delay its 2020 season opening until late May, with the number of visitors down, compared to other years.
        Event coordinator Veronica Sheets said the staff is aware that many people are unemployed due to the virus outbreak, and may not be able to spend the money for “extras.”
         “We think that while health care and first responders are obviously still working, their spouses and other family members may not be, so we just want to let those people come visit this beautiful place without having to worry about paying the admission fee,” Sheets said. “It’s just sort of a ‘thank you’ that we can offer these special people – a little bit of ‘pay-it-forward.’”
        Noble noted that a big part of the mission of the Schedel Gardens is to provide life-enriching experiences for the appreciation and study of nature and the arts. “The experience that our beneficiaries get here will all be outdoors at this time, so it seems inherently safer, in terms of the risk of spreading the virus, than indoor activities. Social distancing is pretty easy to maintain here,” he said.
        For others who might be interested in visiting or a membership, the gardens will be offering a June special that includes a family membership for $55 (regularly $75) until June 15.  Single-day visits are $12 ($11 for seniors and AAA members). Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday noon-4 p.m.
        For more info, visit or call 419-862-3182.


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