Sunday, June 23, 2013

Rooftop Garden Oasis

World Bird Sanctuary visits St. Louis Children's Hospital a couple of times per year, thanks to Horticulturalist Gary Wangler.

Gary standing in his beautiful creation
Gary Wangler is the Staff Horticulturalist for Children's Hospital. He and his staff of gardeners have the most beautiful garden on the roof of part of the 8th floor at Children's Hospital. This garden is a magical place with growing trees, flowers and sculptures that will take your breath away. The garden, complete with a walking path and benches, has a view into Forest Park, St. Louis’s city park. This visual delight is just outside the kids’ playroom on the 8th floor.  Families can go out there to relax and look at the view, and admire the plants or the whimsical sculptures.

Colorful birdhouses adorn the fence surrounding the garden
Twice a year the World Bird Sanctuary is asked to bring animal biofacts like feathers, claws and eggs.  We share stories with the young patients.  Sometimes one of the parents just needs a break and pops in to ask questions about birds or tell us of one of the amazing animal encounters they have had.  Other times I have had a great conversation with a sibling who is not sick, but is interested in wildlife or birds.
I have been lucky enough to be the World Bird Sanctuary representative to go for these twice a year visits many times.  With every visit I feel better about sharing my knowledge or my passion for birds or compassion for fellow humans who need a change of pace.
 One of the whimsical sculptures that adorns the rooftop garden
Gary Wangler is a super guy, who enjoys making the hospital a bright place with wonderful plants and interactive sculptures.  He and Walter Crawford, our Executive Director at World Bird Sanctuary, have known each other for many years from working side by side at the St. Louis Zoo.  Gary always asks how Walt is doing and I always give him the latest update on Walt's travels or programs.

Gary's rooftop garden is a very special place for patients and families of St. Louis Children's Hospital.  World Bird Sanctuary is lucky to be able to go there a couple of times each year to share our passion about birds with these families.
Thank you Gary for inviting us to be part of something very special.

Story and photos submitted by Michael Zeloski
World Bird Sanctuary Director of Education

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