WAUSAU — Imagine a place in Wausau where the young, and young at heart, can explore their favorite book. Where a child can make tea in a hobbit’s home, or chase fairy lights in a tunnel, a place in which kids can count the caterpillars or find a lost land on their pirate ship.

That place, Sara’s Storybook Gardens, will come to life at Monk Botanical Gardens in Wausau in honor of the late Sara Quirt-Sann, a victim of a March 2017 shooting that killed Quirt-Sann and three other people in the Wausau area.

Sara Quirt-Sann (Wausau Pilot & Review file photo.)

How the plan came together

A group of lawyers with the Marathon County Bar Association began to visualize a plan to honor the life of their colleague, Quirt-Sann, about 18 months ago.

An idea took root for a literature-themed garden because of Quirt-Sann’s interest in gardening, love of literature and advocacy for children.

“We wanted a garden that would come alive with suggestions from various children’s books,” said Christine Olsen, a local attorney who has been dedicated to this project.

With a vision in place, project members approached Monk Botancial Gardens with the idea. After garnering Monk Gardens’ support, project members brought in the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin, landscape designer Susie Murphy Jones and others to start clearing an area at the gardens.

There still is lots to do and money to raise for the project, however.

Project members need to raise more than $1 million, secure grants and bring in contractors for landscaping and other specialty garden structures, such as a full-size hobbit house, a fairy tunnel and a pirate ship. Little libraries also will be installed to further foster a love of reading in the children who visit the garden.

To give

Monetary donations can be directed to the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin. Click on “Sara’s Storybook Garden Fund” at cfoncw.fcsuite.com/erp/donate.