I can’t believe it has been five years since the first shovel of dirt was turned! Wow! The power of empowered women!
I am speaking of two incredible Batavia residents who I have had the honor of knowing for a combined 100-plus years. That would be Paula Savage and Barb Toal. Two ladies whose love of peace and history brought them together to bring the beauty of the International Peace Garden to home in Paolo Busti Park at the Holland Land Office site. This is now become a jewel in New York state tourist attraction booklets as well as our own Chamber of Commerce booklets.
Paula Savage is the founder of the International Peace Gardens, now over 25 years in existence in countries around the world spanning five continents including Ireland, South Africa, Poland, Italy, Canada and 19 other countries, not to mention the 19 gardens in New York state alone. All of these gardens established with donations raised through Paula’s efforts, no government funding or tax dollars!
Just as Barb Toal has done with our garden, our $200,000 of in-kind donations, free donations to our garden, all from local donors throughout Genesee County. I am afraid to name them here in fear of not naming them all. They are so precious to us. They are our friends! That is in our name!
I am proud to stand not only with these women but also with the very small army of volunteers that have tirelessly worked in this garden for the past five years.
The United Way Day of Caring helps us do all the Master Gardeners and all the stop-by volunteers.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to our wonderful community.
Most of all to Paula and especially Barb for getting me involved in yet another project in the community I love so much!
Mary Ellen Wilber