The Billings Public Libary Foundation unveiled the new heritage garden at the outside entrance of the library late Monday morning. 

The garden was made possible by a generous donation from Mark and Diane Gorder. Diane has her roots in Montana, growing up in Red Lodge and Billings. The heritage garden reflects Billings and Montana’s native plants, rock, and scenery. 

Not only does the garden reflect community heritage, but it also shows the importance of Apsaalooke, otherwise known as the Crow language. In a collaboration between the Billings Public Libary, the Crow Nation Language Club, and other Crow-speaking experts and elders, the signs showing the name of plants in the garden also feature the name written in Apsaalooke. 

“It was important to include elements of the Crow language and culture as we considered the heritage of Yellowstone County,” said Leslie Modrow, Director of the Billings Public Library Foundation. The Heritage garden also features four illustrations of petroglyphs inspired by Crow rock art found in the Pictograph State Park.

“It’s really about honoring those who came before and inspiring those who will be here in the future,” said President of the Billings Public Library, Dannell Jones. “To know that your place in the community is recognized, I think, is so meaningful to everybody.”

Before the official ribbon cutting for the garden began, the garden was blessed by a Crow Nation Language Club member using sage he picked from the Rimrocks. The garden is now available for everyone to enjoy with information pamphlets on the garden inside the library at the reference desk.

Jones also said that the heritage garden shows that the library is more than just a collection of books. It is a place where everyone in the community can come together and feel inspired in a welcoming environment. 

BPL foundation raises money through grants and fundraising to go above and beyond the state level. Learn more about the efforts of Billings Public Library Foundation and all they do to make the library an inviting place for everyone.