In Memoriam: Anne Jaster (1937 - 2020)

By Nolan Marciniec

The Landis community mourns the loss of another old friend, Anne Jaster. Anne was known for her wholehearted commitment to the natural world, exemplified by her service on the Arboretum’s Board of Trustees, as well as her ardent support of other area environmental causes such as the Plotter Kill and Moccasin preserves and the Environmental Clearinghouse. A gifted artist, she celebrated nature in her masterful botanical drawings. We have included a retrospective of her work in the slideshow below.

To commemorate Anne’s passing, we reprint an article from our Spring 2007 issue.

LANDIS PORTRAITS: A Series About the People Behind the Plants at the Arboretum

“The Arboretum is my church . . . and heaven is here, all around us. Look at the venation on the iris – it’s just miraculous! The Arboretum makes us stop and look at these things,” she said.

Anne Jaster remembered her first visit to Landis more than twenty years ago. Arboretum founder Fred Lape invited Anne and her mother into the “unimproved” farmhouse – she noted the hand pump in the kitchen. On another occasion, she and Alpine specialist Kathie Lippett investigated the Quarry Garden, then overrun with sawgrass, and advocated for its renovation. As a “fledgling” volunteer, she did, as she said, more than her fair share of weeding.

Anne served on the Board of Trustees for six years and as its president from 1992 to 1994. Although she admitted that she is quite content “not leading,” she accepted the position because she saw it as an opportunity to bring structure to an organization she grew to love.

Anne trained as an artist and taught art in both elementary and high schools. Her passion is botanical illustration, which she pursues in a variety of media. She has taken her talent to many places in the world, most notably to Chile and Paraguay, and she has shared her gift by teaching several classes in botanical illustration at the Arboretum. “Nature is art,” she reminded us. “If people really want to know a plant, they should draw it, see what it’s all about.”

Her current project is a comprehensive illustration of the unique flora of the Pinebush, including the insects that feed on these plants, the most famous of which is the Karner Blue butterfly.

Anne’s association with the Arboretum has been, she said, a mixture of both “privilege” and “pure affection.” She has had the opportunity to participate, first-hand, in the Arboretum’s history, working with Fred Lape’s personal library, as well as with his correspondence with horticulturalists all over the world. And there have been simpler moments of privilege too: one evening after teaching a drawing class, she was moved by the unexpected sighting of woodcocks in the gulley near the Farmhouse.

Over the years, Anne maintained, Landis has met many of her essential needs. She would encourage members and volunteers to experience what she herself has found at the Arboretum: “the personal relationships that can develop, the learning activities that are always there, and, above all, the spiritual renewal that comes on a long walk” on the grounds.

We're proud to display some of Ann's work below.

Tap to view full size

Summer 2020

Volume 38 , Number 2

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