On Wednesday January 21, the January 2015 SAP Early Talent class volunteered at the Tyler Arboretum. Throughout the day we assisted the maintenance crew in various tasks to help prepare the grounds in many different ways. The tasks performed included, but were not limited to: preparing and painting different surfaces to restore their appearance, trimming overgrown hedges, clipping unwanted wines around the arboretum’s historic trees, cleaning the outside of buildings on the grounds and shaving down old tree stumps to re purpose for decoration. We were also able to work inside of Latchford hall, a refurbished Pennsylvania bank barn that has been standing since 1972, setting up for the upcoming spring season and preparing their Magical Path items for their children’s display in the park.
I thought this was a wonderful experience. We got to hear about the vast history of the Tyler Arboretum dating back to 1681 when Thomas Mishall, an English Quaker, purchased the property from William Penn. It was really fascinating to hear about the changes of the arboretum throughout the years from vacation home to today. We were all very interested in the multitude of trees around the grounds. As we were transported across the property we saw one of their five championship winning trees, a Giant Sequoia (Tree picture attached). The staff were a group of passionate individuals who you can tell really care about their jobs and work extremely hard to keep the grounds in excellent shape so that they can preserve the history of the arboretum and give back to their community during their visits. It was amazing to see what a team of a few people are able to do with hard work and dedication – especially because of the size of the land, it could create work for hundreds of people! They rely on the help of the volunteers and donations to keep the grounds in the best shape possible, and I was really grateful to be able to help them during our visit. As a class we agreed that we would like to go back as soon as possible because of how inviting and thankful the Tyler Arboretum crew were to us!
Co-written with Keith McCollaum