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

Share this

The Latest from Landis

Mar 14, 2023

Picturing Landis through the year

Scenic Landis Arboretum just begs to be captured by photographers, professionals and amateurs alike. Enjoy... read more

Mar 14, 2023

2022 Annual Report

View or Download read more

Mar 14, 2023 | Nolan Marciniec

Re-thinking Garden Pests

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything... read more

Mar 14, 2023 | Fred Lape, founder of the George Landis Arboretum

Barn Swallows

In this poem, Arboretum founder Fred Lape calls our attention to the “commonplace” miracle of... read more

Mar 14, 2023 | Anita Sanchez

Things Are Looking Up

Tree canopy -- Anita Sanchez Long ago I worked at a nature center, leading walks... read more

Mar 14, 2023 | Laurie Freeman

S-L-O-W Birding: A Primer for Beginners

Are you considering birding? Perhaps you’ve heard that birding is a great way to enjoy... read more

News Archive