Darcy and Chet Zink attribute their time spent at the Arboretum to “the energy of volunteering.” Both agree that meeting people with a shared passion for the environment has been “contagious” and rewarding, while confessing that new plants are definitely an added bonus!
They didn’t hesitate to admit that it was their two children, Alisha and Ian, who first brought them to Landis about 20 years ago. Chet conceded that “free” and “outdoors” were a selling point. Darcy remembered that it was a stifling summer day when they visited. The family walked the trails, sat under the Great Oak, and enjoyed a picnic.
After becoming members and shopping at the plant sales, volunteering was inevitable. Darcy confessed that it was all her doing, but Chet insisted it was a “dual effort.” Contacted by Volunteer Coordinator Anne Donnelly, the Zinks have now become regulars at plant sales and musical events. This year, they represented the Arboretum at the Winter Fest at Gilboa. They certainly would have been at this spring’s plant sale too, if they hadn’t had a trip to the British Isles with Darcy’s penpal (since elementary school) from Australia.
Both are recently retired from stressful and demanding jobs. Retirement has been full: activities like hiking and kayaking, knitting (Darcy), woodworking (Chet), church, socializing, traveling .… and, of course, gardening. Their Glenville gardens feature a bed of David Austin roses, a hosta-lined driveway, and several raised beds of vegetables. The perennial gardens include many of Darcy’s mother’s plants. Every year she uses seeds to grow a zinnia garden to remember her mother, who loved zinnias.
The couple is enthralled with all that Landis has to offer. Chet is intrigued by the kind of learning that takes place at the Arboretum, saying, “This learning from people … is a lost part of education.” Darcy interjected that “there’s always somebody who knows” at the Arboretum, adding that “everyone we’ve ever met at the Arboretum has been wonderful.” Chet instanced the Ed Miller Native Plant Trail, which gives visitors an opportunity to compare variations within a species. They both want to explore the new Waterfall Trail. Chet thinks of the view from the Meeting House deck. Darcy thinks of the flowering quince that got away at a previous plant sale.
Both Chet and Darcy followed a path familiar to many volunteers. It’s a trail that begins with just one visit, then the splendor of the place demands that, through their effort, future generations will enjoy and love it as well.