Wausau, WI – April 26, 2024 –Monk Botanical Gardens’ team is over the moon to share some very exciting news. In light of our blossoming growth and budding presence across the region and even statewide, our Board of Directors and staff, with plenty of hearty discussion and consideration, has decided to turn over a new leaf. As part of our quest to be Wausau’s Happy Place, it has been decided to change our name to Wausau Botanic Gardens. This vibrant community is rooted deeply in the vision and contributions of our founding father, Robert W. Monk. Rest assured; we’re as dedicated as ever to nurturing his legacy:

1. Mr. Monk’s amazing gift and vision are not going anywhere. They’ll stay shining on our website for all to see!
2. Whenever we welcome visitors or lead tours, we’re keeping his story alive and flourishing.
3. And guess what? When our much-anticipated Visitor & Education Center is complete, we’ll share his story in all its glory through media in the building.
4. We’re thrilled to join hands with the Monk Family to create a beautiful tribute at the heart of Wausau Botanic Gardens – a memorial site dedicated to Mr. and Mrs. Monk.

This space will be a testament to their lasting impact on our community and a beacon of growth and beauty for all who visit.
The story of Mr. Monk, his generous gift, and his visionary dream of creating beautiful gardens that offer environmental education will not be lost. In fact, that story has grown bigger than we ever imagined! It is bigger than Mr. Monk and his family, bigger than the staff members who work here each day. That’s why we made this decision—one that embraces our growth and enhances the positive influence we have on our community. The Gardens has sprouted, and our impact has multiplied. We have evolved from a personal asset to an incredible community asset, and our new name reflects that journey. A name change is in the best interest of the organization and the community we serve so that our roots will continue to deepen as a
community asset.

What’s the big deal about Wausau Botanic Gardens? Well, think of it as the start of a whole new chapter. We’re stepping into a growth phase, stretching out our leaves, and gearing up for a spectacular bloom. We’re set on elevating the Gardens into your go-to spot for botanical brilliance, education, social gatherings, soul nourishment, and oodles of fun! As Dave Eckmann, Executive Director of the Wausau Chamber of Commerce, explains, “The Greater Wausau community is located at the crossroads of commerce, the intersection of I39 and Hwy 29. As people travel the state of Wisconsin it is vitally important to identify and communicate community economic assets. Wausau Botanic Gardens (formerly Monk Gardens) will bring greater geographic acknowledgment of an incredibly important economic asset.”

Dave’s sentiment is also expanded on by Tim White, Executive Director of Visit Wausau, “We are thrilled to announce the rebranding of Monk Gardens to Wausau Botanic Gardens. This name change reflects the garden’s growth and transformation into a premier destination for botanical exploration. Wausau Botanic Gardens captures the essence of our expansive and diverse experiences that enchant visitors year-round. We believe this new identity will not only resonate with our visitors but also enhance our visibility and appeal as a must-visit location in the region.

We look forward to welcoming more guests to discover the natural beauty and serenity of Greater Wausau through this wonderful botanical experience.”
Of course, all of this blooming is thanks to you—our vibrant community. The countless hours invested by thousands of you, the boundless dedication of our employees, and the amazing generosity from hundreds in the community, including foundations, government entities, and local businesses, have showered us with the perfect conditions for growth.

Just as all living things evolve, so has Wausau Botanic Gardens. This next step in our growth not only includes a name and logo change but also, this year, Phase I of the three-phased project, Visitor & Education Center, will be completed. So, be on the lookout this season for the following improvements.

1. Replace a secure fence around some of the property and a state-of-the-art security system. The fencing along the remaining acreage will focus on functionality to deter deer and protect the Gardens.
2. Create a Ginseng Garden in partnership with Hsu’s Ginseng Enterprises.
3. Establish a traditional-styled English Garden. This garden will provide a “wow” factor as visitors enter and will be a beautiful and unique space for wedding ceremonies.
4. Construct a Gatehouse and parking lot, moving our entrance to 4th Ave.
5. Make all main trails accessible.
6. Complete Sara’s Storybook Garden.

Thank you, Wausau! You’re not just helping us grow plants – you’re growing all of us, together. Stay tuned. The best is yet to bloom!

J.H. Findorff Construction is the project’s contractor, and The Kubala Washatko Architects are the designers.

Phase I is made possible by the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation, Bell Family Foundation, Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin, Dan Storey Foundation, Dwight & Linda Davis Foundation, Dudley Foundation, Judd S. Alexander Foundation, Marvin & Ruth Schuette Fund, Raymond & Marie Goldbach Charitable Foundation, The Macdonald Foundation, Thomas & Marilyn Kraemer Family Trust, Tom & Janet Felch Family Fund, Walter Alexander Foundation, William and Mary Nell Reif, Wisconsin Public Service Foundation and several individual community members.


About the Wausau Botanic Gardens
The Wausau Botanic Gardens’ mission is to cultivate well-being in people, communities, and the environment with experiences that engage, educate, and inspire. Wausau’s Happy Place serves over 11,000 community members through its educational programs and over 64,000 visitors yearly. The Gardens is a place for education, reflection, and rejuvenation. The Gardens is the only organization providing public environmental education services within Wausau. Creating a personal connection to the natural world sets the stage for lifelong learning, healthy living, and a genuine commitment to conservation. Wausau Botanic Gardens is located at 1800 N 1st Ave, Wausau, WI, and is a 501c3 non-profit organization supported by donations, memberships, and private foundations. For more information, go to www.wausaubotanicgardens.org