Bob Wolk, Raingarden Champion

Each month, we highlight a volunteer making a big difference for one of our affiliate partners. This month, we are please to honor Bob Wolk, a dedicated volunteer at Metro Blooms.

By Barbara Speltz, Development Director at Metro Blooms.

ImageAll of our hundreds of volunteers at Metro Blooms are so critical to our mission. But there are some that warrant special recognition due to the spectacular energy they devote to our outreach and progress. Bob Wolk is one such person in our eyes. His passion for preserving our local waterways is contagious! From his first connection to the organization in 2004 after winning a Minneapolis garden award and taking a raingarden workshop, he dove right in to contribute his time and big-picture ideas from fundraising events to educating his friends and family about the value of raingardens. In 2008, he was asked to join the board and in 2010 he stepped up to chair the board, which has continued for 3 years.

Bob has always led the troops by being the first to sign-up for networking opportunities, event committees and our garden evaluation program. He also happens to be a natural when it comes to emceeing for various events. Not only does Bob’s curiosity inspire others to think outside the box, but his humorous personality brings a smile to all that come in contact with him.

Recently retired (or so he says), Bob has led a life of many professions. From teaching to owning a catering business to working for a large corporation, he has made friends from all walks of life. In fact, add to that all the numerous organizations he volunteers for and it’s a wonder he has time to work on his own amazing gardens. Father of four with his wife Debby, Bob’s strong family values and his devotion to his faith are heavily woven into the fabric of his life, as much as the passion he has for protecting the environment around him.

Setting an example and inspiring others is quite evident. For their 50th anniversary, he and his wife decided that instead of purchasing something for themselves or taking a vacation, they’d celebrate in a much larger way. They gave 11 neighbors a raingarden! Living right off Minnehaha Creek, the impact of such a project can capture 5,125 gallons of run-off for every 1” of rain. Taking it a step further, he decided to hire someone to sweep the streets’ curbs for 3 months in order to capture pollutants and sediment that would otherwise find its way into the creek and eventually the Mississippi River. As a testament to the impact of such a project, over 660 lbs of sand and 335 lbs of garbage and other contaminants were collected. Impressive!

Bob is a perfect example of how volunteers can make such a difference to nonprofits and to their communities at large. It only takes one raindrop, or one volunteer, to provide a ripple effect of substantial consequence.

Find out more about volunteering with Metro Blooms, and check out their upcoming Raingarden Workshops.


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