Janesville52.4°

Edgerton woman wins bag-design contest for fundraiser

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
January 28, 2012
— It’s all in the bag for Shannyn Wellnitz of Edgerton.

The 20-year-old created the winning design in a market bag competition sponsored by Rotary Botanical Gardens and the Alzheimer’s Support Center of Rock County. The contest was held in conjunction with the Garden Memories Walk fundraiser set for May 20.


“I was really excited and glad to have the opportunity to do this,” Wellnitz said. “Knowing it will be seen by everybody is cool.”


Wellnitz’s design, which captures colorful flowers in a circle, has roots in both the support center’s forget-me-not logo flowers and the botanical garden’s more than 4,000 plant varieties. Additional sets of footprints represent walk participants, she said.


Wellnitz’s design was selected from four entries and “a lot of other ideas and little sketches,” said Dan Wilcox, fund development/public relations coordinator for the support center. He said most of the 20-member selection committee fell in love with Wellnitz’s footprints and flowers theme.


“The fact the graphic was easy to see and her use of color would look great on the bag” helped, too, he said.


The two local nonprofits collaborated for this first-time fundraiser after city residents asked Wilcox why the support center’s walk was never in Janesville.


“For 13 years, the walk has been in Beloit,” he said, noting the event will return to Beloit again this fall. The May walk is something new.


After Wilcox and a co-worker drove past the 20-acre garden, they went back and discussed their event idea with then Rotary Gardens Executive Director Kelli Cameron.


“She was so excited,” Wilcox said, adding that Cameron discussed the concept with the Rotary Gardens Board of Directors, which approved the idea.


“It makes sense to have a stroll in the gardens,’’ Wilcox said. “People believe in the mission of both, or one or the other organization.”


Between 300 and 400 people are expected to register for the walk. The event comes at a perfect time as gardens’ volunteers already have planted thousands of tulips that will bloom just before the walk.


Both nonprofits—which will equally split event proceeds—are excited about the potential money the walk might raise.


Amanda Moucha, development and events coordinator at Rotary Gardens, agreed the fundraiser is a perfect fit with her employer.


“People associate the gardens with health and wellness, and the gardens has wheelchair-accessible paths,’’ she said.


On the opposite side of the market bag featuring Wellnitz’s design will be support center and gardens’ logos along with a list of event sponsors, Wilcox said.


The market bag idea replaces the common T-shirt event participation gift and “is a one-size-fits-all,” he said.


“It makes a great book bag for kids and shopping bag for others, plus it gives ongoing exposure to both the support center and gardens whenever anyone uses them,” Wilcox said.


“It’s a constant reminder of both organizations,” Moucha said.


Wellnitz said she tapped into her Blackhawk Technical College associate’s degree knowledge and skills to create the winning design. Wellnitz’s prize includes a free friend-level membership to Rotary Gardens and free registration for the walk.



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