Landis Portraits: Karl Gustafson

By Nolan Marciniec

Karl Gustafson became famil­iar with the Lan­dis Arbore­tum, on paper at least, while work­ing for the Mont­gomery Coun­ty Cham­ber of Com­merce. Last spring curios­i­ty got the bet­ter of him, and he met with Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Fred Breglia at Lan­dis. Look­ing at the Schoharie Val­ley (“breath­tak­ing,” he said) from the deck of the Meet­ing House, Karl admit­ted that it was love at first sight and won­dered why it took him so long to make that first visit.

As one vis­it led to anoth­er: the Fall Plant Sale, the Hal­loween Owl Prowl, a wine tast­ing, Karl con­fessed he was hooked. He offered his mar­ket­ing exper­tise as a way of vol­un­teer­ing, then joined the Board of Trustees in Jan­u­ary and agreed to chair the Arboretum’s Mar­ket­ing Committee.

He avows that he is now pas­sion­ate about Lan­dis. He hopes that he and his com­mit­tee can get the word out and dis­pel the notion of the Arbore­tum as a best kept secret.” If peo­ple vis­it just one time, this place sells itself,” he maintains. 

While there is a lot to adver­tise, two things impressed him most. First, the edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties the Arbore­tum affords — not only the range of class­es and work­shops, but also the wealth of knowl­edge intrin­sic in the Lan­dis vol­un­teers. Sec­ond, the Arboretum’s beau­ty. He recount­ed that first vis­it and the over­whelm­ing, calm­ing effect it had on him. Most people’s lives nowa­days move at a break­neck pace,” he said and then asked, Who wouldn’t ben­e­fit from slow­ing down time and spend­ing a few hours in nature? How can you put a price tag on that?”

Karl and his wife, Kim, live in Cana­jo­harie. Their son, Karl Jr., is a sopho­more at Hartwick Col­lege in Oneon­ta. Karl con­ced­ed that he did not pos­sess a green thumb, but was hop­ing that by spend­ing more time at the Arbore­tum, some gar­den­ing tal­ent might rub off on him! His oth­er inter­ests are golf­ing, stock car rac­ing, snow­mo­bil­ing – and plan­ning for retirement.” 

Cur­rent­ly, Karl is serv­ing as Mont­gomery County’s Direc­tor of Labor Man­age­ment, but his résumé includes a life­time of expe­ri­ence with State and local gov­ern­ments. He antic­i­pates that the skills that he’s honed over the years will stand the Arbore­tum in good stead. His goal is to work with the Board and his com­mit­tee to open the door and wel­come guests to the Arbore­tum.” He is con­fi­dent that just one vis­it will make a dif­fer­ence in a person’s life.

After all, it did in his.

Summer 2015

Volume 33 , Number 3

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