The personal friendship between Peter Wege and Fred Meijer resulted in many good works for West Michigan, including Meijer Gardens as Peter was one of the earliest benefactors. The picture here shows the two friends standing in a field that is now the home of Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.
One of Peter’s and The Wege Foundation’s gifts to the Gardens was an endowment fund to bring in nationally recognized environmentalists to deliver the Wege Lecture. This year on Tuesday, March 24, at 7 p.m. videographer Louie Schwartzberg will share footage from his prize-winning film—narrated by Meryl Streep—Wings of Life. Schwartzberg’s high-definition, time-lapse films of Mother Nature at work, including Fred and Lena Meijer’s beloved and popular butterflies, are not only breathtaking, but also inspirational.
Louie Schwartzberg shares what’s behind these films he’s been producing for thirty years. “Beauty is nature’s tool for survival—you protect what you love. I hope my films inspire and open hearts. If I can move enough people on an emotional level, I hope we can achieve the shift in consciousness we need to sustain and celebrate life.”
He sounds a lot like Fred Meijer and Peter Wege talking about their shared vision for educating people about the need to care for and protect the natural world we live in—and the only one we have. David Hooker, President of Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, said since the Gardens opened twenty years ago this coming April, the Wege Lectures have been a great attraction for members and visitors. “In addition to the sculpture Fred loved and the horticulture Lena loved, our mission is also to support the environment and the arts. The Wege Lectures have been about all of those things.”