About 50 members and colleagues of the Arboretum Foundation attended our Annual Meeting at the Graham Visitors Center on Wednesday, June 21. Foundation Board President Sherrey Luetjen led the proceedings, which included speeches about our fiscal-year accomplishments, updates from our partners at the Parks Department and University of Washington, and a preview of coming events in the year ahead.
The big news of the evening was the announcement by our Executive Director Paige Miller that she will be leaving the Arboretum Foundation on August 4 for a new adventure in New Orleans. Paige has served as the ED of our Foundation for 10 years, and much has been accomplished during her tenure. She is moving to take on a new job with her husband, Biff, a researcher who has developed a new treatment for late-stage cancers.
Said Paige, “It has been an amazing 10 years. Together we got the State to remove the Ramps-to-Nowhere that have scarred the Arboretum for 35 years, remnants of a freeway that was stopped in its tracks by Seattle’s first environmental movement. We got the State to commit to $20 million of mitigation projects as compensation for widening SR 520 through the Arboretum and destroying more wetlands. We built out much of the Pacific Connections Garden, including the Cascadia and New Zealand Forests, Gateway to Chile, and the Entry Gardens. We built the Entry Gatehouse at the Japanese Garden and got the Loop Trail under construction. And, maybe most important of all, for just a few thousand dollars we completed the gravel path on Azalea Way, so you can walk that path even in the dead of winter without being up to your ankles in mud.”
The Board of Directors thanked Paige for her many contributions and are planning a farewell celebration to take place soon. Sherrey also announced plans to appoint an interim Executive Director who will manage the Foundation’s daily operations until a new permanent Executive Director is fully engaged.
Paige wasn’t the only one celebrated during the evening: Board Secretary and Japanese Garden Committee member Jeanne Peterson was presented with the Volunteer Legacy Award for her amazing commitment to the Arboretum. And departing Board members Terry Holme and Craig Trueblood were thanked for their service—Craig for his 10 years of invaluable work.
Four new Board members were nominated and elected: Joan Affleck-Smith, Jeff Lehman, Marylyn (Missy) Ward, and Steven Wood. The evening concluded with a reception and light meal on the Visitors Center terrace, as well as a farewell cake for Paige.