On the Road Again

By Louise Polli

If you are reading this article, you already have something in common with my husband Gus and me, a connection with the Landis Arboretum.  In our case, that connection has blossomed into a variety of activities to support the Arboretum.  Our favorite activity might be categorized as ”outreach.”  It’s an activity you can be a part of too. 

Our late and beloved Volunteer Coordinator Anne Donnelly called us “ambassadors.”  And like ambassadors, we travel, staffing information tables at public events, sometimes with our little dachshund, Cameo, representing the Arboretum on a person-to-person level.  We play our video and talk informally with people who come by our table at such events as the Hudson Valley Garden and Flower Show, the Cobleskill Wildlife Festival, or the Fall Fest at the Mabee Farm. 

The visitors to our table may be just discovering the Arboretum as we speak.  They may be frequent guests inquiring about new features at Landis; others may not have been there in many years.  Some say they have seen road signs for the Arb and were curious but never visited.

In each case, our goal is to welcome them to come out and see us and check out our plant sales, our programming, our trails, our vistas.   Families, couples, retirees, newcomers to the area, all have interests we can address. Making connections:  that’s what it’s all about, reaching out to people to share with them why the Arboretum is the place for them, whatever their interests.

We take this show literally “on the road” to spread the word about Landis.  The posters you might see on community bulletin boards throughout the Capital District advertising our plant sales and summer book store openings are there because we and other Arboretum volunteers and supporters drive around and hang them up.  Look for them in your neighborhood Stewart’s Shop (a great supporter of Landis year-round), local library, or other amenable locations.  We keep a supply of posters in our vehicles and make a point of seeking out posting locations in our day-to-day travels.  Often this will prompt a conversation with folks as we post, another opportunity to spread the word about Landis on an informal basis, making a new friend or two for the Arb here and there.  No preparation, no training, just a casual conversation, another connection, another opportunity to create an awareness. 

Not all our outreach happens on the road, though we clock countless miles distributing posters on the way to and from grocery stores, medical appointments, vet visits, drives in the country.  During the summer, you might find us in the Landis Book Store for some of the Second Saturday book sales.  We are there not only to sell books but also, once again, to talk and field questions about everything Landis.  Those walking through our door in the corner of the historic barn may have seen our book sale signs on the road, read about the sale in a Facebook post or email announcement, or just wandered in while hiking our trails.  In each case, we have a chance to learn a little bit about them and how we might best “serve” them – a Star Party? 5K race? bird walk? writing class?  The sky’s (with our million-dollar views) the limit.  Again, we aim to make – and grow – those connections.   A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met. 

 “Outreach” can happen on-site too. Did you see me at the Spring Plant Sale?  I can be spotted in an Arboretum tee shirt, clipboard in hand, promoting Landis memberships.  Good for you, good for the Arb, good for the future.  In this role, I get to talk about what I love, Landis, and grow our Landis family just a little bit bigger, person by person.   You get a host of financial and plant lovers’ benefits through monetary discounts, reciprocal admissions opportunities, advance sales, and social events -- to say nothing of helping to ensure the current and future viability of this special place.  The Arboretum gets your priceless support and the ability to continually improve.  

 

This is what outreach is all about at the Arboretum.  And it is IN REACH of all of you, if you would like to call yourself an “ambassador” like Gus and me, count yourself as one of our volunteers, and find your spot.  Every time you tell someone about the wonders of the Arb, you reach out a little, in a most positive way.  Hang a poster during a coffee run at Stewart’s, or post a photo on Facebook of a beautiful perennial in bloom or a bluebird in flight spotted on your trip to Landis.  Talk to friends in your social (or social media) circles about a program you enjoyed at the Arb, or a family picnic you had there.  Get together with co-workers to organize a group for the 5K run.  All are ways to serve as Landis ambassadors:  find your way. 

 As Wilma Jozwiak says elsewhere in this newsletter, that’s the magic of volunteering.

 

Make a further commitment (your idea or ours) and contact our volunteer coordinator, Susan Strangia, to talk about the numerous volunteer opportunities we offer.

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Summer 2024

Volume 42 , Number 2

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