Connecting to This Special Place
A message from Clint Staff, retired Seattle Parks and Recreation carpenter, and current Pacific Connections Garden Steward and Display Garden volunteer
Dear Friend of the Arboretum,
The Washington Park Arboretum is a living treasure in the heart of Seattle. It has grown for more than 75 years through careful planning, the hard work of dedicated and talented people, and generous donations from you and your neighbors. I urge you to consider a special donation today to support the continued development and conservation of this, our shared legacy.
I am a Seattle native, a fisherman and artist, with a degree in fine arts from the University of Washington. I recently retired after 25 years as a Seattle Parks and Recreation carpenter, where I first encountered the Arboretum. I’ve always had a deep fondness for the Arboretum. It is a green open space, balancing the crowding and pace of modern urban life. The trees quiet and cleanse the air, just as a shady stroll can clear one’s mind. The Arboretum is educational as well as calming: an outdoor classroom for kids and grownups alike. As the world rapidly changes around us, we must do our part to ensure that the Arboretum will be here for all of us, now and in the future. That’s why your gift is so important!
Our Arboretum contains many extraordinary plant collections. Being married to a Kiwi, I’ve long been drawn to the New Zealand High Country Collection, which was created in 1993 in conjunction with the Seattle-Christchurch Sister City Association. This small but lovely planting at the south end of the Arboretum inspired the much larger Pacific Connections Garden now being developed there. Construction has begun on the two-acre New Zealand Forest component of Pacific Connections, and next year it will open with a marvelous celebration, featuring local and visiting Kiwis, and many more. I hope you’ll be able to join us, too!
As a current board member of the Seattle-Christchurch Sister City Association, I am excited to bring visitors to this beautiful place, our own piece of New Zealand in the Northwest. In anticipation of this new planting, the Arboretum’s display garden at the 2013 Flower & Garden Show will highlight plants native to New Zealand. (The display also takes its inspiration from Peter Jackson’s movie of The Hobbit and is sure to be a big crowd pleaser!)
Your Arboretum is many things to many people—a world-class public garden, a place for recreation and relaxation, an educational resource, and a sanctuary for urban wildlife. It is also a place to celebrate our multi-cultural society. The new Pacific Connections Garden highlights our relationships with regions all around the Pacific Rim. Then of course, there’s the world-famous Seattle Japanese Garden at the Arboretum, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010. I’ve been captivated by Japanese language and traditions for years. I enjoyed my first ever chanoyu, or tea ceremony, at the Japanese Garden Tea House, and it was an amazing experience. So much of the Japanese Garden’s fascinating history is a story of cooperation and mutual respect between the citizens of Seattle and Japan, including the people of Tokyo and Kobe, our first Sister City!
The Arboretum also provides a venue for building local community, whether through volunteer opportunities or simply by being a great destination for families to spend time together. The relationship between my son Carl and his fiancée Natalie deepened and blossomed during their walks and talks in the Arboretum. In July 2013, they will be married at the Graham Visitors Center. What a joy it is to see the budding of a new family here at the Arboretum!
In 2011, Paige Miller, Executive Director of the Arboretum Foundation, invited me to join the Pacific Connections Garden Stewards, a group of volunteers who help maintain the Arboretum’s new eco-geographic displays. I readily agreed, and I’m glad I did. I very much enjoy being directly involved with the Arboretum. Working with the Arboretum’s great staff and volunteers is a great way to cultivate lasting friendships, and I’m learning a lot. Some of these amazing people are Walt Bubelis, a local horticulture resource and leader, Kyle Henegar, the Pacific Connections gardener, and Rhonda Bush, the excellent volunteer coordinator. Visit the Arboretum and see for yourself the exciting work that’s going on in Pacific Connections and now on historic Azalea Way, which has its own new group of garden stewards.
You can help care for our special oasis in Seattle. Since 1934, the Washington Park Arboretum has functioned with public and private support. In today’s economy, public money is not sufficient to meet the maintenance demands for our 230-acre park, and there is a greater need for volunteer efforts and private funding. Please make a generous gift today.
The Arboretum is a place for relaxation, education, and enjoyment for you and me. I hope that you will experience the Arboretum in every season. While you’re here, visit the Graham Visitors Center, where soon you will be able to get a cup of coffee in the excellent gift shop! Bring your guests to one of Seattle’s best places, and help it grow through a gift to the Arboretum Foundation. Thank you for being part of our family and caring for this treasured place.
P.S. Your gift today will help preserve and enhance our beloved Arboretum. Besides cash gifts, stock donations are welcomed and may provide you with additional tax savings.