Patricia Morse

Hyde Park blogger, historian, and Jackson Park Advisory Council member Patricia Morse (far left) leads visitors and docents-in-training on a tour of Jackson Park’s Garden of the Phoenix on Saturday morning, March 13.

In response to increasing numbers of visitors to Jackson Park and some recent vandalism, the Jackson Park Advisory Council in collaboration with the Chicago Park District has started a docent program for the Garden of the Phoenix (the Japanese Garden) on Wooded Island.

Seven potential docents showed up Saturday morning, March 13, for the program’s first training. The initial session, conducted by local blogger, historian and Jackson Park Advisory Council (JPAC) member Patricia Morse and JPAC president Louise McCurry, took about an hour.

“Today, we are training community residents to give tours to newcomers to the Japanese Garden,” said McCurry.

“The history of the garden, the natural areas of the garden, and the incredible breadth of the garden are things that you don’t pick up by just looking at it. So, having somebody tell you the facts and tell you what you are looking at makes it all come alive and makes it real.”

“Our goal is to create a whole network of people who see the Japanese Garden for the jewel that it is,” continued McCurry. “We hope to train about twenty people who can spend the weekends here doing an hour tour each time,” she added.

The next training session for new docents will take place Saturday, March 20, at 11:30 a.m. Following the training session, at 12:30 p.m., McCurry will conduct tours of the Garden of the Phoenix, which docents-in-training will be able to shadow.

For more information about docent training at the Garden of the Phoenix, text Louise McCurry at (773) 844-2225.

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