This month’s issue features Dianne Koehler, one of our original residents of Wells Branch. It’s hard to know where to start with Dianne; she’s been involved in our neighborhood since its inception and has given so very much to our community. This article doesn’t begin to cover all of Dianne’s contributions to Wells Branch.
Let’s start at the beginning. Dianne has always been good at “firsts”. She was on the original committee that petitioned Pflugerville Fire Department to establish a station in Wells Branch, originally located on Thermal where the MUD maintenance office is today.
She served on the community center committee and walked the neighborhood gathering signatures for a petition to build the Community Center on Klattenhoff. Her forethought and drive helped bring this meeting place, which is used by the entire community, to fruition.
Together, Dianne and Rosewitha Bowker (with ideas from Dale Cockshutt) formed the WB Community Garden committee and worked together to get the garden started, establishing the plan to include the tool shed. Countless Wells Branch residents have enjoyed the opportunity to grow organic vegetables in plots close to home all because of her initial efforts.
Dianne was also one of the early WBNA board secretaries and newsletter editor and continues to share her wisdom with the community today through her gardening blog.
In the early days of Wells Branch, she served as the Homestead Board President on the first board past the developer for 8-9 years, working with the board to get historical recognition for the Gault Homestead and the marker for the property. While on the board, she worked on projects such as the garden construction at the Homestead (the raised stone beds encircling the fence around the cabin, increasing traffic to the facility so that our treasure might be shared, the Homestead Festival, and starting the homestead summer camps with Paula Cockshutt which eventually grew into “Stuff-to-do” camp.
In recent years, her passion for gardening led her to help create the Wells Branch Garden Guild, spreading the word on organic gardening and helping neighbors expand their knowledge and abilities through her expertise. Dianne continues to serve on the steering committee for this important community service group.
Dianne also volunteers her time with the Wells Branch Elementary Jr. Master Gardener Project. She served as a teacher during its initial year and will be sharing her skills and love of gardening with the children again this year.
Always a supporter of our parks and trails system, Dianne managed a fund raiser in 2011 for Trees for Trails and conducted an art & science mini-camp program in 2012 with 50% of the gross proceeds going to buy trees for our park system. She’s also a member of the new MUD sponsored “Stream Team” helping to plan for the future of our parks.
Her love and talent for teaching continued to manifest itself through volunteerism with scouting groups in the Wells Branch area, teaching special classes and merit badges over the years.
Dianne has influenced Wells Branch is so many ways, but she will most be remembered for bringing the library to Wells Branch. Dianne was a founder of the Wells Branch Community Library. She built it from the ground up starting with the petition drive (going door to door in her house slippers) on through the election establishing the tax district culminating in the design and construction of the building that houses the library(with many others.) She served on board for 12 years, 10 of those as president, many years as finance officer, and on the tech and finance committees as well. Dianne worked tirelessly for the WBCL, volunteering in excess of 20 hrs/week during several years. She donated hundreds of dollars for events to secure matching funds and staff perks in the early years. Teaching a once-a-week family art class, Dianne initiated the pumpkin painting program and a Christmas ornament program that not only paid for themselves but raised money for programming. In addition to the weekly art/craft activities, she helped start a summer mini-camp program as a fundraiser and conducted an art & science only program for several years.
One of the founding members of WBCL’s first book club, Wine, Women & Words, and proud owner of Library Card “#1”, she remains a vital part of our library community today.
Outspoken and not always tactful, Dianne has always been willing to fight for what she believes in, and she believes in Wells Branch. You’re one of a kind and we wouldn’t be where we are today if you hadn’t been here from the beginning. Thank you Dianne, for helping to “Make Wells Branch Great!”