Missive from the Director’s Desk

by Heather Zimmerman, Executive Director

creek with stone footbridge

After a decade at Awbury I have resigned and am heading out for new adventures.

I am very grateful for the time I have spent here. Awbury is one of my favorite places, and it values many of my personal passions. It is also the connecting point for me for many important people in my life.

Awbury is a gorgeous, unique, and special place, from the softly rolling hills of the  English Landscape through the historic watercourse and fields, the quirky AdventureWoods and the community hub that is The Farm—it is a wonderland.

I have always been a nomad, so it is 100% true when I tell you that Awbury is the place in my life where I have consistently spent more time than any other—it is a home to me. I am so proud of every bit of it: the variety of  ephemerals that dress the spring, the chorus of insects and lights of the numerous fireflies that fill the summer evenings, the deep crimsons and oranges of the tupelos and sugar maples in the fall, and the way you can glimpse Center City through the leafless trees from the Cope House or the top of the farm in the  winter. I could go on about the beauty and the bounty of nature that exists and is protected here.

It is an important place to my family. We have celebrated many birthdays and holidays here, either with a party or a walk after dinner; my children both had their first jobs here; and  the willow I planted as a memorial for my father stands by the pond and brings me a sense of peace.

Awbury embodies my passions.  Conservation, education, the arts and Nature for All. Environmental stewardship gently breathes here every day. This green oasis is very important to the health and well-being of plants, air, water, animals, and people in this community and beyond. The Arboretum is a vast classroom for horticulture, history, agriculture, botany, culinary arts, visual arts, performing arts, positive psychology, wellness, yoga, meditation, wilderness survival skills, and more.

Awbury also has a passion and  history for working towards a just and equitable world and continues to strive and grow in its support for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Certainly, the hat I have worn most frequently and proudly in my time here is that of program creator, curator and manager—it has been a privilege and a joy to do so.

But what makes all of this possible is the people.

Thank you to the community members who trust us to show up and participate in the enjoyment of and caring for the Arboretum. Many community members have stepped up to become Board Members. A big thank you to all of the volunteer board and committee members past and present—their time and expertise are invaluable to the health of the organization.

Our Board Chair, Shanna Halpern—I really can’t thank her enough—her time, dedication, and support have been tremendous. Few people have any idea of the amount of work she has dedicated to Awbury over the last few years.

Awbury staff—our newer staff members Grant Folin, Megan do Nascimento, Vivian Rowe, and Grace Allen—they have  jumped into the fabulous chaos and non-stop to-do lists and have hung on with fresh eyes, good humor and amazing energy—I am so pleased to have had time to work with them Awbury is lucky to have them here.

My long-time Awbury companions—Chris van de Velde, Beth Miner, Branda O’Neil, Hideko Secrest, Mark Sellers, Gail Hinson and Steve Pascavitch, Terrence Jones, and Hector Vega—they are dedicated, hardworking, smart, creative, generous, dogged over-achievers.  I could give a speech about how amazing each and every one of them is. They are my Awbury family.

We have weathered storms, power outages, faulty electrical work, crime scenes, vandals, bats in the house, wild dogs, personal struggles, falling trees, deaths in our families, and the pandemic together. We have rejoiced in hard-won successes, grants received, buildings built, dinners served, gardens planted, countless children made joyful, birthdays, new babies, hundreds of trees planted, and the everyday victories and hardships of working at a small non-profit together. I have been made a stronger, wiser person by working beside them.

Awbury—the place, the passions, and the people will always be important to me. Thank you all for the privilege of being part of this magical place these many years. I will be on campus through mid-December and am looking forward to visiting and watching Awbury thrive in the future.

Botanical Musings

by Grant Folin, Landscape Manager & Head Gardener and
Steve Pascavitch, Arborist

Why are so many trees being removed at Awbury Arboretum? Are they being replaced? These are questions that visitors and neighbors frequently ask, and the answers are complex.

Trees are mortal living things with a lifespan, the same as humans and animals. There are many factors that may affect the health of a tree: pests, diseases, climate change and human factors are some of them. When a tree becomes visibly affected by a pest or disease, it is usually too late to act to save the tree. When trees are removed from the Awbury landscape, it is not done lightly. The reasons for removal are most often for visitor and infrastructure safety.

When possible, we try to leave large dead snags standing in order to promote wildlife habitat, as these snags are used by birds, mammals, insects and some amphibians for prime habitat (food, shelter, water).

Two of the pests and diseases that impact our trees include the emerald ash borer, which will attack ash trees as well as other woody plants in the olive (Oleaceae) family and Dutch elm disease, an insect-borne fungus which all but wiped out the stately elm trees that shaded the streets of American suburbia in the 1950s.

The good news is that we at Awbury Arboretum, with the help of a local arborist, have treated 10 large to medium-sized ash trees against the emerald ash borer and 2 very large American elm trees against Dutch elm disease. Also, during the last 3 to 5 years, Awbury has planted more than 300 trees, many as part of our watershed protection plantings and others as Tribute Trees to commemorate loved ones for a variety of occasions. These trees have been cared for and cultivated to ensure their survival; such care includes watering and protecting the young trees from deer.

In areas of the Arboretum that are already under tree canopy, it is difficult to establish younger trees, as most tree species require bright sunlight to grow into strong and healthy mature trees. In such areas, where possible, we will strive to include understory trees and shrubs that are shade-tolerant.

While the removal of hazardous trees has been the priority at Awbury since March 2021 (when Grant Folin arrived as Awbury’s Landscape Manager and Head Gardener) the level of tree canopy present at the Arboretum will be greatly increased in the future with the addition of so many trees during the past 5 years. Please realize also that an aging tree population requires regular and steady maintenance, which costs a considerable sum of money. Please take this into consideration when you are making your annual gift to Awbury or renewing your membership.

You make possible everything we do to keep Awbury Arboretum safe and beautiful.

Capital Improvements

by Chris van de Velde, Project Manager

There is a lot of building, installation, renovating, and painting going on at Awbury this year, so what follows is a brief summary on our progress so far.

  • Carriage House—renovations are about 60% complete, but much delay has been encountered as we have sometimes had difficulty getting contractors, materials and City building inspections in a timely fashion.
  • Carriage House Blue Barn—we continue to explore economically feasible ways to restore this structure. In the meantime, we have crafted a more substantial temporary roof enclosure.
  • Pond Restoration—this project is almost complete. Last work to be done is the installation of the pump and recirculation system to move water between the two ponds.
  • Farm Market—to support the new farm market that has begun operating on Sunday afternoons, we have installed two new sheds—one for the tables and chairs needed for the market, and one a refrigeration unit for overnight storage of produce brought in by regional farmers.
  • Curb Cut and Service Road—the new curb cut off Washington Lane is in place, and the new stone driveway to provide easier access to our equipment compound and the tenant partners on the southern end of the Farm at Awbury is almost finished. This new access route will reduce intrusive vehicle traffic in the pedestrian areas of The Farm at Awbury.
  • Cope House—the windows of the solarium have been repaired, the inner halls have been freshly painted, and new carpeting has been installed on the stairs and second-floor hallway.

Membership Updates

by Grace Allen, Membership & Communications Manager

This year, membership at Awbury is undergoing major changes! Membership has always been a crucial part of the wellbeing of this arboretum—we count on our members to share the word about the beauty and biological function of Awbury and to vote in our board elections.

Our growing organization of members is what keeps Awbury grounds free and open—no admission required. Our goal here at Awbury Arboretum is to preserve the landscape and history, but, additionally, to connect with community and history, drive positive environmental impact and expand greenspace. This year, our dedicated and passionate members will receive many exciting new member benefits, which have been tailored directly to our mission. We are excited to present these to you, the community, this October 2022.

Benefits will include discounts at local businesses, private tours of our sweeping landscapes and historic homes, discounted stays at The Tiny House of Happiness, fostering of our award winning and historic trees, exclusive members-only events, and more.

We are so excited for the expansion of Awbury Arboretum’s membership program and furthering our mission of connection with community, the preservation of our rich history, and Nature for All.

Farm Market News

by Loren Pola, Farm Market Manager

In case the news had escaped you, this September Awbury Arboretum held the Grand Opening of its pilot Farm Market Sundays, an event eagerly anticipated by both Awbury staff and neighbors. The Market will be open Sundays from 1-5pm at The Farm at Awbury from now until the end of October, and all are welcome to come, look, and buy. The opening of the Farm Market has been a long-time dream for those at Awbury Arboretum, and a long time coming, considering the agricultural focus that Awbury has had in the last decade.

As it stands, the Farm Market carries a diversity of fresh fruit and vegetables sourced locally from an aggregation hub in Chester County called the Honey Brook Harvest Collective, a collective of ten Amish family farms and many other contributors to the local food system, such as orchards, cheese producers, and bakers. These farmers already have a presence at many of the farmer’s markets throughout Philadelphia, and the opportunity to provide them with an additional outlet for their produce at Awbury, a site that is already well known throughout the city, was a wonderful opportunity for both parties.

Going into next season, we will be bringing on many additional vendors that represent the neighborhood and interests around Awbury, so that a full diversity of farmer’s market products will be available to our community. Even more exciting, this platform will provide an outlet for those producers in and around Awbury including Weavers Way’s Farms. Come check us out any Sunday from now until the end of October!

Sunday Fun Days

by Megan Do Nascimento, Wellness & Sunday Fun Day Coordinator

It has been a blast this summer hanging out on Sunday afternoons in the shade drinking lemonade and eating Philly pretzels with members of the Awbury Community Garden, Weavers Way volunteers, and friends and neighbors while families frolicked at The Farm.

The first Awbury Flea Market, organized by Sheila Pope, was very popular and we look forward to possibly planning another one in the spring.

I want to thank the following organizations for coming out and offering free activities to Awbury: Sue Lerner-Dende Macedo and the Mamae Deele Foundation; Germantown ArtHaus and the Selfie Project; The Free Library of Philadelphia (West Ogontz); Forensic Jawn; Sir Science Michael Barney; and Neil the Clown.

I am look forward to Harvest Fest and ending Sunday Fun Day 2022 with a big party!

Harvest Fest 2022 is Coming!

Year of Birds: A History of Birdwatching at Awbury

by Nancy Pasquier, Nature Programs Coordinator

Our 2022 Year of Birds programming has grown our visitors, deepened our knowledge of the natural world and given us an opportunity to showcase the many birds to be seen on our grounds (we are up to 157 species this year!). We think it is pretty special to have a place that combines nature, history, and community and doesn’t request an admission fee, and we know that many of you feel the same way. We received this email last month that expresses this sentiment:

“My grandfather, who was schooled at Awbury, was Francis R. Cope II, an avid and knowledgeable birdwatcher. I am so glad you continue to have birding programs at Awbury!!!”
Patricia Cope Bidlake, Calgary, Alberta

This connection to the past is a reminder that birds and Awbury have a long history. In 1916, when the Cope family donated the property to the public, one of the express purposes was to establish a refuge for birds. We continue to honor this legacy by planting natives for food and cover, ensuring that Awbury remains a welcoming spot.

We have many events planned for the rest of our Year of Birds including three bird hikes, two speakers and an art show. More information can be found on our website. We anticipate a lot of feathered visitors during fall migration and we hope to see you, too!

Wellness Team News

by Megan Do Nascimento, Wellness & Sunday Fun Days Coordinator

We had an oppressively hot summer in Philly and the temperatures forced some of us to start our days early. The Thursday morning wellness walk was shifted from 11am to 7am when the temperatures were favorable and allowed us to put some pep in our steps. 

Our walking group enjoyed watching The Tiny House of Happiness get constructed and liked to imagine what we would do if we had a night or weekend without our “things,” as in electronics and TVs. Most of us agreed said we could live with less “stuff” in our lives. The ongoing Monday 7am walks continued to be very popular with participation hitting 24 intrepid souls one week.

The early morning quiet at Awbury in the summer is priceless. The birds were on their best behavior at 6:30 am for the three-week morning meditation that Jenny Bulkholder offered. Thank you, Jenny, for grounding us and sharing your beautiful practice.

The chair yoga crew moved to the pavilion at The Farm to take advantage of the cool breezes and clucking of chickens.  Friendly goat herders and volunteers smiled and waved while we did our sun salutations.

Awbury Wellness welcomed new wellness teacher Kirsten Bradley. Kirsten grew up in the NW section of Philly and is sharing her passion for meditation and gentle yoga. Kirsten teaches on Wednesday nights on the patio of the Francis Cope House.

Sarah and Megan’s yoga classes are going strong. There is nothing like light rain and a summer breeze embracing you while you are supine. Antoinette came back in August to teach her ever-popular Afro Fusion class. What a workout!

Wellness classes will continue outside until it gets too cold. The Wellness Team wants to thank all of you for your generous support in the summer campaign.

From the Archives: Bird Lists from the Past

by Alex Bartlett, Archivist & Curator

For years, two handwritten “bird lists” were tucked away in the Awbury Arboretum Archives. These bird lists—written in 1926 and 1927 by an unknown author—were  written on thick and highly-acidic paper. Fragments would frequently break off, and it was clear that these unusual documents would eventually deteriorate to the point of no return. In 2013, in a very well-timed email, Temple Contemporary contacted the Arboretum, asking if there were any items that the Archives wanted to conserve, so the items could survive so that future generations would be able to research and learn from them. The bird lists immediately came to mind. Conservation funds were to be awarded as part of a contest, in which video entries were made, with other entrants including but not limited to the Morris Animal Refuge, the Attic Youth Center, the West Kensington Ministry, and the Spiral Q Puppet Theater. Members of the public were to watch the video entries from each organization, and then vote as to which items and organizations were the winners. And Awbury’s bird lists were voted as one of the winners!

A conservation grant was then awarded, with the conservation work being performed by the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA), using the funding awarded by Temple Contemporary. During the conservation process, the bird lists were cleaned, lined with mulberry paper and wheat starch paste to strengthen them, with areas of missing paper replaced with appropriate paper and wheat starch paste. The items were also flattened, as they had become somewhat warped with the passage of time. Facsimiles of both bird lists were made; both the original bird lists and originals remain at the Awbury Arboretum Archives.

But the question remains: who wrote the bird lists? We contacted local ornithologist, Scott McConnell, who compared the handwriting on the bird lists with that of Arthur Emlen, with the help of his son, Arthur Emlen, Jr. In a July 7, 2014 email, McConnell noted that the handwriting on the bird lists was similar to that of other documents known to have been written by Arthur Emlen, Sr. and that “I don’t yet have ‘smoking gun’ evidence that Art Emlen, Sr. was the one keeping the list, but am reasonably confident of it.”

We are thankful to have these important documents in our Archives, and are so glad they are a part of Awbury’s history and legacy!

Above: the 1927 bird list. The first two columns are of birds seen, the third and fourth are location of sighting (usually just noted as “Awbury”), and the fifth and last columns include the dates of the sightings. Among the birds listed in the faint and hard-to-decipher script are Billed Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, Brant, Horned Grebe, Tree Swallow, Migrant Shrike, Meadowlark, Flicker, Robin, and Mallard.

This fall Katie VanVliet’s collection of recent sculptural and print works are on display in the Cope House Galleries in a show entitled “Forager.” At the artist’s reception in September, VanVliet mingled with the guests, discussing her work. Her work is multi-media, as she uses a combination of print, found objects, collected and constructed objects, and collage in nearly every piece on display. Even if a piece is purely a print, there may be an element that is printed from, say, a piece of embossed silver serving tray—a tray that was later cut into pieces for Forager and Forager II. Walking from piece to piece and spying the connections became another aspect of the exhibit, seeing how everything is interconnected.

VanVliet attended Moore College of Art & Design for sculpture and printmaking. Since then she’s “walked a fine line making sculpture and prints and making them talk to each other.”

Her father was a “jack-of-all-trades, an inventor—specifically, he repaired motorcycles—but he was always making parts for them and making sculptures out of their parts. He’s somebody I look to as an inspiration. His parents were also non-artist creative people. My grandmother built surrealist dollhouses from thrift store finds. Her office was always filled with drawers and little tableaus and funky objects. Their home was why I was intrigued by unusual objects and materials.” She elaborated: “My father and his parents passed away about ten years ago. I foraged supplies and tools from all three of their workshops to use in my own studio. Using the things they collected keeps them alive, and feels like I’m collaborating with them.”

In 2010, three years after graduating from college, VanVliet co-founded a print shop called BYO Print. “The print shop is like a co-working space. It’s always been something that’s been in the background of my career… It’s kind of … defined how I’ve been in the Philadelphia arts community.”

Her studio, however, has always been a place apart from the print shop, where she follows her own instincts: “Basically, since I began working with my senior thesis in 2007, I’ve always made found object sculptures. I try to redefine what a found object sculpture is or looks like. I’m interested in how the preexisting colors or shapes naturally align with other materials or might fit together with them.”

The pieces on exhibit at Awbury are an overview of her work: “The purpose was to revisit all the things that have been in my studio for a long time… looking at how older work and newer work approach similar subjects. I think the title piece of the show “Forager” is a prime example of that. It contains an object that I made as an undergrad in the middle, as well as pieces I specifically constructed for this assemblage.”

I asked her about the piece, “Ten Milkweed Pods.” VanVliet explained, “A couple of things have come together for this piece. I was at a residency in Vermont and it was the last day of the residency. I had shipped most of my work and supplies back to Philadelphia. I was going for a walk along a rail trail that cuts through a bunch of farmland. There were all these dried pods and I didn’t know what they were. I shoved a whole bunch in my pocket and brought them back and made plaster casts. And I had all these cool little sculptures. They’ve been hanging around my studio for five years like little talismans and they sit there until that epiphany or that aha moment comes and that’s when the piece happens. I mounted them on a wooden backing board from a cider press that I purchased from a friend a long time ago. The printed matter [in the piece] was also printed in Vermont. The edge of the piece has dark scribbling on it: that is made from a silver pencil that was cast from sterling silver rings that I had when I was a teenager.”

All of VanVliet’s works have similar layering of both materials and personal history, and they all utilize foraged materials in some way, even the prints. She comments, “There are several pieces that are foraged from older prints. There’s a series of three collages that have either a cat or a mermaid. Those are things I made during early COVID. They were an exercise … to make some new work that felt fresh when I had no access to studios or babysitters. In hindsight, they were probably the beginning of the “Forager” body of work…. As a sculptor, I’m attracted to all sort of objects. As a printmaker, I look at objects and think, can I make a print from that? The print entitled ‘Curios’ is all printed from found objects.”

When asked what experience she hopes to evoke in the gallery visitors, she hesitates for a moment, then says, “I guess I want them to come away having triggered a memory; that one of the pieces of material that they see brings up something they’ve seen in the past. [Their connection will] always be different from how I connect to the object.” She wants people to draw those connections: “There’s nothing in the show that can’t talk to something else in the show.”

VanVliet’s works are on display at the Cope House Galleries from Monday-Thursday, 10am-4pm until October 30. Admission is free.

2022 was a Banner Camp Year

by Hideko Secrest, Leaflet Editor

With 8 sessions of camp and 172 campers, this was our largest ever season of camp at Awbury. Campers from the ages of 5-14 took part in foraging, games, campfires, whittling, make-believe, handicrafts, tree climbing, and the building of tiny villages. They learned about animals real and mythical, poisonous plants, medicinal plants, how to tie knots, and how to build shelters.

In the always sold-out sessions of Camp Katniss, they learned survival skills and competed in Districts on the last day to win The Games.

In Welcome to Wakanda, they made masks and paper spears, printed cloth with symbols, practiced drumming techniques, searched for hidden vibranium, and learned about the correspondence of the tribes in Wakanda with actual African tribes and their cultures.

In Ilvermorny Camp for Witchcraft & Wizardry, they cast spells, had magical duels, took classes in Divination and Care of Magical Creatures, deciphered runes, and took part in an intramural Magical Tournament, all while uncovering and foiling the vengeful plan of an evil necromancer, and rescuing a fellow camper from doom.

In the younger camps, Forest Creatures and Nature Foragers, they played in mud and squirted each other with water, explored AdventureWoods, made friendship bracelets, hatched butterflies from cocoons and released them, and did yoga.

In our new offering, Farm Camp, campers learned about soil, composting, seeds, and basic agriculture. They made pesto and smoothies from farm-fresh ingredients, and salves and teas from herbs. While offered for 1 week this year, we will likely be expanding this into a 2-week session next summer.

Finally, for the first time since the pandemic started, our Advanced Wilderness Survival campers were able to have their overnight campout in the last days of the session. They cooked dinner over a campfire, played flashlight tag, and slept in tents or hammocks in AdventureWoods. It was truly a glorious end to a magical summer!

As one parent put it, “[My daughter] loved all of the new skills she learned! Whittling, fire building, camouflaging in plain sight—and  she especially loved the Hunger Games. And she continues to talk about the friendships she made—she loved everything about it.”

Welcome New Staff: Grace Allen

Born in California and having grown up in Media and Glen Mills, PA, Grace Allen grew up in and around nature, surrounded by forests, farmland, and a horse farm, in a childhood she describes as “enchanted.” As a child, she loved doing crafts and being out in nature, and as a teen she worked on a farm and at Whole Foods.

Grace double-majored in Political Science and Environmental Science at Temple University. She remarked, “It was really jarring coming from the country to North Philly where there are no trees.” In her first year of college, she focused on environmental justice.

She graduated in the winter of 2021 and came on board as Membership Manager at Awbury Arboretum soon after in April of 2022. With the departure in August of Scott May, she also took on the role of Communications Manager.

Her goal for Membership at Awbury is to make members’ experience more dynamic by actively encouraging their participation in the expansion of greenspace. She feels that the benefits she’s offering for the launch of the membership program are fairly basic, but she’d like to expand them to include more immersion in the landscape. “I’d also like the membership program to promote the control of invasive species on Awbury’s grounds.”

For the Communications piece of her job, Grace is determined to make Awbury more well known in Philadelphia: “I think people who live right here might not know it exists.” She will reach out to people through social media, but also through community engagement: staffing informational booths and attending community events to spread the word about Awbury. Her goal is to make neighbors see Awbury as a place that belongs to them, that they can use whenever they want: “I’d like people to see the romantic vision of Awbury that I see.”

Board Member Spotlight: Loretta Tate

Tell us a bit about yourself: where are you from?

I grew up in Athens, GA and I had a normal experience as a child. I had doting older brother: when I was about 4, he would encourage me with my ABCs and numbers. I mastered them and was reading at age 4. I started in first grade, but they accelerated me into 2nd grade. So I graduated at the age of 16. From there, academically, I was propelled into the educational world. My background is in health: I was in health technology and I got a fellowship at University of Buffalo to pursue health technology and X-ray technology. I did post-masters work in Germany in Holland.

How did you end up in Philadelphia?

I got my undergraduate degree from St. Louis University in radiation technology and I met my husband while I was in St. Louis. And then after I finished my degree in St. Louis, I was offered a job in Philadelphia, at Thomas Jefferson University. And that’s how I ended up in Philadelphia. I’ve lived here since 1970.

Were you aware of Awbury before you joined the Board?

Yes, because I got married around 1977 and we bought our home in 1982 and so I’ve lived at Haines and Ardleigh since 1982. Which means that my driveway abuts the Arboretum.

I know you’re now retired, but can you tell us a bit about your career?

I worked as a health educator. My first job in Philadelphia in health education was in federal healthcare centers. They’re usually located in communities of low income. … I have taught on the college level at Thomas Jefferson University and I helped with my husband’s work—my husband was an artist and he taught art. Around 2002, I [ran] the art program at a middle school and I’ve served as a substitute teacher. When my husband passed in 2006, I created a non-profit to keep his legacy alive. From 2008-18, I created and operated the Lucien Crump Gallery Art Education Resource Center. So the programs were based on my husband’s compassion… One program was Art from the Heart—this was a program for women in transition. These were women recovering from substance abuse. Some of the issues [they were facing] were self-medicating, sexual abuse by family members, isolation. They would use an art form as a form of expression. For instance, what color is fear? They would choose a color and we would talk about it. Sometimes different activities would reveal to them things that they had been trying to figure out how they felt and what was driving them to self-medicate.

What experiences have most affected your work at Awbury?

When we moved, we were invited by [Awbury] people who were living behind the wall, [who] were Quakers. Gay Johnson [a longtime Awbury volunteer and supporter] invited me to be on the Education Committee. I had two sons and we would go walking to the pond; [Awbury] was always considered an extension of community. Because of that, it makes me feel a love for the Arboretum. I guess I could say that I was active at the very outset of the development of the Arboretum as an educational resource. I come with some sense of the history of the Arboretum.

What do you think makes Awbury a unique place in the City of Philadelphia?

Well, I would say that, because of the location and its layout, you have all of these trees and vegetation and you get the sense that, when you walk into the Arboretum around the Cope House, you almost feel as if you’re outside of Philadelphia. It has a closed feel—you’re surrounded by beautiful trees. It allows you to have a quiet experience.

What is your vision for Awbury 10, 20 years down the road?

I would hope that there is a plan that complements the mission. And by that I mean there doesn’t seem to be a clear plan about the growth of the Arboretum. I’m thinking of a comment I made two Board meetings back: I don’t sense the Quakerism in the Arboretum now. The Quakers were very committed to maintaining the plants. There is no defined space where a person could check in. You get the sense that the Farm and the Cope House are two different worlds. I would like a sense of looking at this wonderful space at the Arboretum and making sure there is an education component on both sides of Washington Lane.