It all began back in Alice Sutter’s North Beach living room on November 10, 1958, with 13 dedicated women. Concerned about rapid development on LBI and the disappearance of native trees and shrubs, the group called themselves “The Garden Club of Long Beach Island” (GCLBI) and the women set their goals: preservation, conservation, and beautification. Adopting the motto “Watch Us Grow,” the club has done just that for more than half a century, and now includes more than 140 members.
The club has its own environmental consultant, Mary Wilding, who updates members each month on such important topics as seismic testing, fracking, pollution, sea-level changes, and other threats to our environment. Mary also solicits volunteers for local clean-up projects that keep our island safe and beautiful. Several of the club’s environmental projects are in partnership with the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences.
While the GCLBI began out of concern for our native habitat (and continues to support that focus), it soon branched out to include service to our native inhabitants—and those beyond! From contributing to the Food Pantry at St. Francis to knitting warm hats for our troops overseas, the club is involved in community action. Listed here are just some of the club’s many projects.
Holiday House Tour
None of what the GCLBI do would be possible if it weren’t for its Holiday House Tour. This is the Club’s one and only fundraiser that raises the money needed to do all the community based projects listed here.
Throughout the year, the club awards grants to environmental organizations for various projects—from planting dune grass to rescuing stranded marine mammals.
The club maintains the gardens at the Beach Haven Library and the Edith Duff Gwinn Gardens in Barnegat Light.
Library Shows & Decor
Each November, the club holds a miniature flower exhibit—under five inches—in the Surf City Branch of the Ocean County Library. In January, the show travels to the Stafford Branch to brighten up the long winter for mainland residents. In addition, club members provide fresh or dried flower arrangements for the local libraries every month.