by Executive Director Luke Messinger (originally published in 2012-13 Annual Report).
The Arboretum has grown tremendously since its founding in 1929 and the past year was no exception as we continued to expand on our founder’s core mission of trees, history and the natural world. The year brought us record numbers of visitors and education participants. We completed several large projects. We also experienced the challenging results of 80mph winds from a weather pattern known as a Derecho. In between it all, we continued to be thankful for what can be accomplished with a strong mission, creative staff and a community support-base who donates their time, money and energy to help us reach our goals.
We recently presented the 2013 Annual Report to our members, which highlights a few of the accomplishments of this past year. Many of these accomplishments would not have been possible without dedicated and generous supporters. Some of the projects that we worked on include the Learning Garden, improvements at the Red Barn Environmental Education Area, expansion of the trail system and initiating the Ohio Sustainable Landscape program as well as some volunteer-led activities.
We are very appreciative of our Board Co-Chairs Josephine Jacobsmeyer and Teresa Young who concluded their terms as chair after seven years of service. Under the leadership of these great-granddaughters of our founders, we saw the construction of the History Archives Building, installation of the Learning Garden, and the planning and hosting of the American Public Gardens Association 2012 Annual Conference.
Henry Hauser, also a great-grandson of Beman and Bertie Dawes, assumed the role of Board Chair in October of 2013. Henry follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, Carlos Burr Dawes and his mother, Sally Hauser, who both served on the Board of Trustees of The Arboretum. Henry’s focus will include further development of our membership program and the cultivation of donor relationships.
As we look ahead to the new fiscal year, Master Planning will headline a year of planning for the future. This plan will guide our continued grounds development as well as address visitor accessibility to collections and garden areas. It will also help us evaluate current facility use and guide collections, garden and habitat development.
This is a particularly exciting time for The Arboretum as it rolls out two new programs—The Fairchild Challenge and the Heritage Middle School collaboration. With a grant of nearly $40,000 from the Ohio Environmental Education Fund administered through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, nearly 700 Heritage Middle School students in Newark, Ohio, will engage in outdoor education programs at The Dawes Arboretum with hands-on learning sessions covering subjects such as water quality, ecosystems and environmental impact.
We will develop a new venue for additional history education. The History Center is being renovated in order to host exhibits and displays focused on the history of The Arboretum and our founders. The grand opening is planned for spring with the first exhibits including: The History of our Founders; The Early Days of The Arboretum; Tree Dedications; and The Pure Oil Company.
The Zand Education Center Classroom is in the midst of getting a much needed makeover. This multipurpose room is receiving roof repairs, updated doors and windows, the replacement of outdated carpet with an accessible polished floor and the replacement of wood paneling to brighter, painted walls. Renovations funded by the estate of Dr. & Mrs. Clyde and Julia R. Gump.
The 2013-14 fiscal year has been termed “year of the Japanese Garden.” At the opening of the garden in 1965, Japanese Ambassador Ryuji Takeuchi described the Japanese Garden as “…certainly one of the most beautiful examples of this facet of the Japanese culture that I have seen in the United States.” Nearly 50 years later, the garden is in great need of renovations. Repairs include island stabilization, stone leveling, additional tree care, plantings, a rebuild of the meditation house, and pond dredging. Renovations will be completed in time for the 50th anniversary of the garden in 2015.
We are honored to have you, our biggest supporters, growing alongside our garden. With your help, more and more people will understand the importance of what we do, more children can be introduced to the wonders of nature, more people will see the value of planting trees and plant conservation, more homeowners will engage in gardening, and a stronger connection can be made within our community.