Our Impact

Quality of Life

Every major city has a botanical garden.  Wausau has a botanical garden.  Botanical gardens and the experiences and programming they provide  attract people to the Wausau area to live and work.  This provides a high-quality and diverse workforce for area businesses.  People want to live in a city with various outdoor amenities, and Monk Botanical Gardens is a key attraction.

Economic Development

Monk Botanical Gardens is the only botanical garden north of Madison and west of Green Bay, making it a tourist attraction that also enhances the aesthetic and value of the greater Wausau community. This brings tourists and day-trippers from outside the region to spend significant dollars within the broader community.


We are the only organization that offers environmental education for the public in the Wausau area. The power of plants positively impacts both children and adults alike. We’ve created a steady stream of educational opportunities on the grounds, allowing all to learn sustainable gardening practices, plant uses, and more. Hands-on opportunities and the responsibility of caring for and raising plants have provided creative outlets for many.

Health and Wellness

We are Wausau’s Happy Place because digging in the dirt and being in a natural area increases serotonin, making people happy. Research has shown a positive correlation between mental and physical health and access to plants and green spaces. We’ve impacted the health and wellness of thousands of our community members through our programming, events, open trails, and volunteer opportunities.


The Gardens serves to educate, engage and inspire the community, teaching how to be environmental stewards in the Gardens and at home. We are a key source of knowledge on pollinators, plant health, native gardening, and plant pests and disease control.

Community Outreach

With growing community partnerships and outreach, the Gardens welcomed over 25,000 visitors in 2021. We’ve created opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to access nature and get their hands in the dirt, including commonly underrepresented groups.


We are creating our future botanists, horticulturists, ecologists, and conservationists. Over 10,000 children have participated in one of our preschool, school, private group, and summer camp programs in the past four years. Our programs are designed to provide children with experiences that teach them about plants and nature and, challenge them physically, mentally, and help them develop a love and respect for the natural world. Many children learn to climb trees, catch frogs, plant their first vegetables, and most importantly, learn to be stewards of the environment. Long-term studies show that garden and environmental education can be life-changing for children in how they interact with plants and the environment.

The Importance

In Tree Climbing

Many adults will look at a tree and simply see a tree, nothing more, nothing less—to a child however, a tree is an invaluable teacher providing opportunities for risky play, self-discovery and resilience. The art of tree-climbing requires not only physical strength but also focus and concentration. Creative problem-solving comes into play as children plot and plan routes to climb towards the sky.

On this particularly warm winter day, as the trees were dripping and footholds were tenuous at best, these Sprouts were listening to the birds as they climbed. A soundtrack of chickadee calls and flapping wings combined with wonder and curiosity leads naturally to the questions: “I wonder what it is like to fly? Birds can fly, why can’t I?”

 As they grow and learn they will reach an understanding and the fascination with flight, for most, will subside. Until then, we let them climb, periodically checking in with each child, not reminding them to be careful, instead simply asking if they feel safe. So we can give them wings.