Landis Portraits: A Series About the People Behind the Plants at the Arboretum

By Nolan Marciniec

From his Duanesburg home, across the valley and due east from the Meeting House deck, Steve Perog can hear the Burtonsville Falls – and he can see the Arboretum. He’s a good neighbor, one anyone would love to have.

A longtime resident of the Schoharie Valley, it wasn’t until fifteen or so years ago that Steve first visited the Arboretum, leading a group of cub scouts on a hike. Even the black flies did not stifle his enthusiasm. (Those insects were “all a part of the Upstate New York equation” he quipped.) Even then, he was impressed by Fred Lape’s “beautiful dream” of providing a place for the public to enjoy and learn about nature, as well as the curated collections of plants that, in his mind, makes Landis unique. But plants aren’t his only interest, as he is intrigued by the geological forces that shaped his neighborhood -- the Schoharie Valley and the Arboretum. He credits Robert Titus’ book, “The Catskills During the Ice Age,” for fueling that interest.

Steve served as a member of the Board of Trustees. Currently serving as an active member of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, he has donated both his time and his construction expertise. He was instrumental in the renovation of the Raymond Greenhouse. The work included replacing the wooden support beams, installing a new roof, pouring a gravel floor, and providing wooden walkways. The greenhouse now supplies “Landis Grown” plants for its plant sales. “It’s always a great feeling to see a project to fruition,” he said.

Steve is also a regular at Arboretum events such as the plant sales and the Full Moon Concert series. More than a decade ago, he and his wife, Cheryl, purchased an entire “garden package” at an Arboretum’s Spring Plant Sale, as advised by Landis’ panel of horticultural experts. The garden is now mature, having provided many seasons of pleasure. Steve admitted that his gardening now amounts to “pulling a few weeds.”

front of welcome sign

Visitors to the Arboretum will be greeted by a handsome new welcome sign, which was produced by Steve’s company, Capital Supply, Inc. Capital Supply, in business since 1990, distributes products to highway departments in the Capital Region. These include such materials as street signs, specialty chemicals, and protective clothing. Certified as an OSHA safety trainer, Steve is proud that Capital Supply contributes to a safer working environment for its clients.

Reverse of welcome sign

“I’m happy to make a contribution and happy that others are doing the same,” he said. He fully believes that “incremental giving” will make the world a better place. His service to the Arboretum proves the truth of that belief. “We can change the world,” he added, even “a coat of paint, one paver at a time.” It’s what good neighbors do.

Summer 2022

Volume 40 , Number 2

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