At the HVCC Flower and Garden Show: Landis Volunteers

By Louise Polli

The Landis Arboretum has always been a visible presence in the communities it serves. One of the best venues for meeting potential new visitors and members has proved to be the annual Flower and Garden Expo at Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC).

At a booth displaying our calendar of events, trail map, plant sale poster, Meeting House rental information, and more, visitors could watch an Arboretum video, join our email list, and bring home a spray of pussy willows. But the most valuable takeaway was likely the opportunity to talk with our friendly and knowledgeable volunteers.


We first met Lora at the Cobleskill Wildlife Festival. Despite the late spring date, the weather was a wintery mix of snow and rogue winds, penetrating the large outdoor tent and knocking down displays. Lora was well prepared and undeterred from completing her day as a Landis volunteer. As we reminisced about Cobleskill at this afternoon’s HVCC booth, I asked Lora why she continued to serve the Arboretum. She laughed and said, “If I could survive that . . . .“ When she moved to the Capital Region, Landis was one of the first places she found, and she still loves it. In her current job, she works from home, so her volunteer work at the Arboretum gives her a chance to meet new people and tell them about a memorable place, a special destination.

Jim and Jean:

Jim and Jean are new both to the Arboretum and to volunteering with us. On their first visit, they toured the grounds by themselves. Jim noted, “Even self-guided, we had a great time.“ They later participated in one of our snowshoe hikes, an experience they found both entertaining and educational. They felt an affinity for the place. When they received a solicitation for volunteers, they decided to staff the booth together at Hudson Valley. With Jim just a few weeks away from retirement, we hope this is the first of many experiences for them as part of the Landis family.

Gus and Louise:

My husband Gus and I have been Arboretum volunteers for nearly 14 years. It never grows old. We have had many different roles, both in public and behind the scenes. One of our favorites is what is fondly called “Landis Ambassadors”, telling others about the joys of the Arboretum -- our plant sales, family-friendly programs, music series, everything. A beautiful place, a walk in the woods, a magnificent view, a place to refresh and reflect.

Fred Breglia:

Fred Breglia, our Executive Director, is as much a staple at the Flower and Garden Expo as our volunteers at the booth. This year Fred conducted six presentations on topics ranging from improving soil for better results, to proper pruning, to big trees and ancient forests. His programs are always a big hit at the show, and they often encourage those who haven’t been to Esperance to come and see the Arboretum for the first time, or for others, to come back again and again. Like Teri from Little Falls, who stopped at our booth to chat and proclaim, “Fred’s the Man!”

Landis volunteers bring the Arboretum to the greater community. They share their expertise, experiences, and enthusiasm for Landis. They paint a picture of a place you will want to discover for the first time or return to after a long time away. They whet your appetite for a picnic in the Meditation Garden, a hike in the Old Growth forests, a trek through the snow.

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Spring 2023

Volume 41 , Number 1

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