Message from the Director

One thing everyone has had to face in response to the coronavirus pandemic is transition.  We’ve transitioned from face-to-face interaction to remote meetings and online interactions, transitioned from working in the office to working at home, and many people have had to face the difficult transition of losing a job or shutting down a business.  During this difficult time, the Arboretum program has adapted and modified to face the challenges presented by the pandemic, and we appreciate the work our students have done to keep up the Arboretum’s growing momentum.

This summer, we were faced with having to keep our operations running without the benefit of our wonderful volunteers, who would have contributed hundreds of hours of labor in a typical summer.  Fortunately, thanks to the Learning by Leading™ program we started last fall, we had student co-coordinators (coco’s) on hand who made it possible for us to keep moving forward.

Last year, our first cohort of co-coordinators oversaw teams of interns and volunteers in our main program areas.  In response to the much lower labor force this summer, our coco’s banded together to work in shifting teams that helped out with whatever needed to be done in each of our program areas.  We were able to keep them employed as essential university personnel due to their critical role in maintaining basic Arboretum operations.   Working together in teams created positive synergies, and despite having limited hands on deck we were able to accomplish quite a bit this summer!

As detailed in this newsletter, we finished moving out of our old community garden and prepped that area for a future nursery, which we hope to establish in the next couple of years.  Our students did a great job designing and organizing the Phase II planting of our Whittier’s Walk garden which commemorates our founding director, Dr. Hank Whittier.  Students who trained in our first-ever basic wildland fire course over spring break were able to participate in a prescribed burn of a long-unburned area of campus.  All of our students worked tirelessly to prepare our community garden and Arboretum Park site for the fall semester.

Another very important transition for the Arboretum this past year involved transitioning from having little in the way of external fundraising to establishing a strong foundation for future philanthropy, thanks to generous gifts from several devoted supporters.  We feature two of those supporters, Baker Commercial Landscaping and the Harris family, in this issue of our newsletter. Building and maintaining a strong donor base is a key element of increasing the Arboretum’s impact on the lives of our students and our community.  We are grateful to those who have recognized our impact and who have made a significant contribution to our program.

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