Year-end Message from Mark Smith, our Executive Director

Dear Friends of the Mary May Binney Wakefield Arboretum,

As I look back on this year - and what a year it was! - I am grateful for thecommunity we have created and engaged here at the Mary May BinneyWakefield Arboretum. Despite a global pandemic, shutdowns, quarantines, and social distancing, I was constantly reminded of the importance and role an outdoor place like our arboretum can play at times such as these. Having access to beauty, nature and serenity proved to be an important lifeline for those needing some distance from the varied impacts of Covid-19.

Like everyone else, we started the year with high hopes that life would get back to normal in 2021, which here at the arboretum means dozens of school field trips, in-person lecture series, our annual Dogwood Days Garden Party, and so much more. But schools remained closed, indoor group activities were forbidden, and large outdoor gatherings posed risks many did not want to take.

So, we adapted and pivoted:

  • Rather than welcoming hundreds of school-age students here for a full day of nature-based science education, we went to them - virtually. We got up to speed on how to effectively use Zoom as a platform for education, and we learned new ways to present science education to kids that were fun and informative.

  • Over the winter months, we hosted our annual Stone Soup Lecture Series online, engaging members and visitors alike in the history and collections of the arboretum.

  • When vaccines came online and the weather warmed, we held our annual Dogwood Days celebration, adapting it to meet the concerns and needs of our members by creating a varied menu of activities - workshops, tours, even a beer garden - drawing hundreds of enthusiastic and socially-distanced garden lovers.

And to top it all off, we kicked off our new membership program and gained the support of nearly one hundred new members - people who place value in the work we do here at the arboretum to preserve a rare and unique cultural landscape and use it for the benefit of the community.

Your support is a vital source of revenue - but even more: it gives us and those we serve encouragement in knowing that what we do here matters. To make a secure online donation, please visit our website at or donate using Paypal or credit card via our link.

Warm regards,

Mark Smith, Executive Director

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