The Carola Ashford Alcatraz Gardens Fund has been established to support the legacy of landscape restoration that she initiated.
Carola came to Alcatraz in 2004, having been awarded the Marco Polo Stufano Fellowship by the Garden Conservancy. After her fellowship, Carola stayed on as project manager for the Alcatraz Gardens Project, becoming the driving force behind restoration of the island’s exceptionally unique gardens and inspiring countless others with her enthusiasm and vision.
Carola’s passion for the gardens and their history led her to create a thriving, unique program for bringing the historic gardens back to life. She planned and designed garden restoration, finally planting the last areas in the winter of 2009. A meticulous researcher, Carola sought out former inmates, Alcatraz residents, and their families for first-hand stories of garden life on the Island. Photos, interviews, and archival material were all incorporated into the beautifully restored landscapes, breathing color and vibrancy back to the island after decades of neglect.
Her dedication inspires us to understand not only the gardens’ history, but also the special meaning they held for Alcatraz prisoners and families alike. The gardens have become an incredible showcase for public education and an integral part of the Alcatraz story. The Alcatraz Gardens program consists of numerous dedicated volunteers, who both maintain the grounds and teach visitors about their importance.
Carola’s commitment and charm inspired all those around her. Her colleagues and friends in the Alcatraz garden volunteers, the Garden Conservancy, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service will remember and continue her work in the blooming landscapes of the Island. The restored gardens are a visible testimony to Carola’s special combination of creativity, hard work and quiet persistence.
If you would like to speak with someone about making a special contribution to the Carola Ashford Alcatraz Gardens Fund, please contact Audrey Yee, Director of Planned Giving, at (415) 561-3016.