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Pushback over name change for botanic garden in Wausau

Wausau Botanic Gardens
Wausau Botanic Gardens website
Wausau Botanic Gardens

The Wausau Botanic Gardens has hinted at another name change after their most recent rebrand was met with significant community pushback, including sharp criticism from the family of Robert Monk.

According to a press release, the organization acknowledged Monk’s dedication and still plans to ensure that he remains a part of their history, saying, “We understand the significant role that Robert W. Monk played in establishing these gardens, which stand as a living tribute to his vision and dedication. We want to reassure everyone that the legacy of Robert W. Monk remains at the core of our mission. His spirit and dedication continue to inspire our work, and we are committed to ensuring his name is synonymous with the Gardens’ identity and heritage.”

When asked if this means they will add Monk’s name back into their identity, Board President Paul David said the plans include “pivoting to work on a brand that will both honor the legacy of Robert W. Monk as well as be more outward facing.”

David also encouraged the public to visit the Garden’s website for more information as it becomes available and to provide feedback.

Leaders of the Gardens announced the rebrand two weeks ago, saying it would help establish the gardens as a regional destination. However, the decision was immediately met with negative feedback from those who said it tarnished the Monk’s legacy and vision for the land.

The organization also requested further input from the community, saying, “We acknowledge that changes are necessary for growth, but not without thoughtful consideration and input from our community. As we progress with the reintroduction of Robert W. Monk’s name into our branding efforts, we seek to reflect both our heritage and future aspirations. Your input has been and will be appreciated as we progress.”

The gardens were founded in 2003 when Monk donated 19 acres of land for the development of a public garden in the hopes of providing environmental education to the Wausau community. Today, thousands of children, students, and adults attend events at the Gardens throughout the year.

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