Benjamin Olewine III
In a 2002 interview for Green Works television, Mr. Benjamin Olewine III spoke about his involvement with Wildwood and the nature center that bears his name. His comments are a reflection of the man that we have come to know and admire.
“Now when I see the children when they come here, it really gives me so much satisfaction that I made the decision to start this program and see it through to its conclusion. The children are so excited about what they are being exposed to and a lot of them have never had that kind of exposure. It becomes very formative for how they feel about nature and the environment.”
Mr. Olewine has seen Wildwood through many phases. He grew up in Harrisburg during the 1920s and 30s and remembers his parents bringing the family for picnics at Wildwood Park almost every weekend. The zoo was a special attraction as was ice skating in the winter and enjoying large bonfires along the shore. Wildwood is remembered as a great meeting place for families.
During the 1940s and 50s his family lived two blocks from Wildwood and it was again a favorite family destination with his own children enjoying ice skating and boating activities on a regular basis.
Since 1976 Olewine Distributors, “the house that quality built” and later Sysco Foods was located across Industrial Road from Wildwood and provided a welcome lunchtime break or after work relaxation for watching birds and other wildlife. During all of these stages Wildwood held special meaning for him, then later for his family.
When he heard that the Friends of Wildwood and Dauphin County were planning to build a nature center at Wildwood he was immediately interested. After discussing it with his family the decision was made to become the lead donor on the project. Again, in 2002 Mr. Olewine stated that his donation for the Benjamin Olewine III Nature Center at Wildwood Lake Sanctuary was, “the most gratifying thing I have done in the community.”
Mayor Stephen Reed said of Mr. Olewine, “Benjamin Olewine is a much beloved and respected city father, whose contributions to both business and civic life serve as inspiration for all citizens.” We concur and are very pleased to be associated with the Olewine family.