Landis Portraits: Scott Jackson

By Nolan Marciniec

On one recent occa­sion, Scott Jack­son brought his 7‑year-old daugh­ter to one of the Arboretum’s ponds. There was so much going on: frogs, tad­poles, mos­qui­to lar­vae,” he said. She could have stayed there for hours. It was fun to see her imag­i­na­tion work­ing. And it made me see too, things that I take for grant­ed .… it opened my eyes again.” 

Since then, both of his young daugh­ters attend­ed the intro­duc­tion to hon­ey­bees class – brim­ming with curios­i­ty and questions. 

It was also curios­i­ty that ini­tial­ly brought Scott to the Arbore­tum. Hav­ing seen the signs for the Arbore­tum while dri­ving to Coop­er­stown, he came back to hike some of the trails and not­ed the Arboretum’s ven­er­a­ble Great Oak. Then Anne Donnelly’s drag­on­flies and dam­selflies work­shop. Then mem­ber­ship. Then vol­un­teer­ing at the spring and fall plant sales. Then a list of events to put on the cal­en­dar for the future, includ­ing the star par­ties and the Full Moon Con­cert series. 

A neat spot for peo­ple to learn some­thing,” he not­ed. And, for many like Scott, to give in return for those lessons. 

It was Scott who installed the wood­en floor in the Wel­come Cen­ter, mak­ing that space cer­tain­ly more wel­com­ing than its for­mer grav­el floor. He donat­ed his time and tal­ents. That’s what vol­un­teers do,” he insist­ed. Vol­un­teer­ing means you’re involved – you’re part of an orga­ni­za­tion. And an orga­ni­za­tion is a com­mu­ni­ty. Peo­ple who feel the same way as you.” He said he real­ized that places like Lan­dis couldn’t exist with­out vol­un­teers like those who paint­ed the barn and those who worked to rehab the greenhouse. 

A man who con­fess­es that he loves trees, he tries to teach his daugh­ters the names of trees. 

Scott’s own nat­ur­al curios­i­ty began grow­ing up in Fayet­teville, NY, near Parker’s Peony Farm, 25 acres plant­ed with alter­nate rows of peonies and lilacs. Even as a child, he was awed by the beau­ty in the spring. When the farm was leased to Agway, he worked there, learn­ing an appre­ci­a­tion for plants.” He enrolled in an arbori­cul­ture pro­gram at SUNY Farm­ing­dale for a while, but life took him in a dif­fer­ent direc­tion. While land­scap­ing on Martha’s Vine­yard, he was giv­en an oppor­tu­ni­ty to refine his car­pen­try and mason­ry skills and to go off-island to dis­as­sem­ble and reassem­ble old post-and-beam homes. Sub­se­quent­ly, he com­plet­ed the Build­ing Con­ser­va­tion pro­gram at RPI. He now works as an inde­pen­dent car­pen­ter from his Albany home, spe­cial­iz­ing in his­toric restoration. 

Lan­dis Arbore­tum, he said, is a dif­fer­ent world. It’s one of those places I’m com­fort­able, where my mind is at ease .… It’s one of those places to go when you have noth­ing to do or have trou­bles on your mind. To bring kids – there are an end­less num­ber of reasons.” 

Above all, Lan­dis is a place to learn. To learn about nature. To learn about com­mu­ni­ty. To learn grat­i­tude – about giv­ing and receiv­ing. To have your eyes opened again.

Summer 2018

Volume 36 , Number 3

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