Terry Jackson

April, 2017

Terry Jackson received a Wisconsin Heroes Award because of his excellent volunteer service at Olbrich Botanical Gardens from 1997-present.

When Terry Jackson retired from Madison East High School about 20 years ago, he was determined to make a difference in the community while continuing to do what he enjoyed.

He did not want to just sit around during his retirement years. From 1997 until today, Terry has given Olbrich Botanical Gardens 830 service hours! He worked with the plants in the outdoor gardens as well as the tropical collection inside the Bolz Conservatory. He also engaged visitors interested in learning about the Gardens.

Terry started in the Perennial Garden as a weekly volunteer gardener. He loved working with his crew to develop and maintain the outdoor displays. In 2004, he discovered his real passion when he started his twice monthly shifts as a Conservatory Early Bird in the Bolz Conservatory. Working side-by-side with two staff, Terry spent 2.5 hours each shift helping to “clean-up” the indoor garden so it would be ready for visitors at 10 am.

Staff related that Terry felt his biggest challenge were the free-roaming quail who he was known to give friendly advice as they messed up the beds he’d just made neat. Terry knew Olbrich well, and in 2008 he started sharing his passion for plants with visitors as an Outdoor Greeter in the Thai Garden. Terry is already looking forward to Olbrich’s Blooming Butterflies event this summer when he can again greet, engage, and delight visitors.

Terry gives his time and talent to Olbrich so that visitors can enjoy and appreciate Madison’s free public garden. Plants and people at Olbrich give him much satisfaction. And, because of his efforts and the other Olbrich Volunteers, more than 300,000 visitors annually are delighted and inspired. 

For his incredible dedication, hard work, and timeless interest at Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Terry Jackson is deserving of a Wisconsin Hero Award.