The Arboretum in Winter: What Do We Do?

A great many people ask, “What is there to work on at the Arboretum during the winter months?”.  Many also say that it must get lonely out there during the cold and sometimes bleak winter.  Which is true.  Our Executive Director has been known to joke that it sometimes feels like we’re part of the movie The Shining.

However, the simple answer to what we do is this: a lot.  But I want to give you the answer that you’re really looking for, which is much more informative and interesting than simply “a lot”.  Read on to find out exactly what keeps us busy from November – March.

  1. Events Calendar

This occupies a huge chunk of our winter time because we do not have an excess of time to plan events during the warm and busy summer months.  We send emails, make phone calls, order tents and tables, talk with volunteers, put dates on the calendar, and slowly start to build our event calendar for the upcoming year.  Each year we try to “up our game” when it comes to events.  Bigger, better, and more has become our motto.  Because of this, you can look forward to exciting, new event offerings in 2017.

  1. Fundraising

Fundraising is absolutely essential to the success of the Arboretum.  Without your extremely generous donations, we would not exist.  However, someone from our organization must first ask for these contributions.  That’s where we come in.  We take weeks writing, designing, and perfecting the “Annual Appeal” letter that many of you receive toward the end of November, and we then, over the next two months, collect funds that help keep us in operation.  During our 2016 campaign that runs from November to December, we have received close to $40,000!  This is also a time for writing grants for projects, operating funds, marketing funds, and more.  We receive grant dollars from several local foundations, and for this, we are extremely grateful.

Donations to the Cedar Valley Arboretum are 100% tax-deductible, and we accept donations all year long.  Unless otherwise specified by the donor, donations will go toward maintenance and upkeep of the gardens, planting new flowers and trees, improving our facilities (including signage and trail system), and more!

You can make a secure, online donation here.

  1. Garden Improvements

Each year, we make efforts to expand, improve, and update our gardens, and most of the ordering and planning is done during the winter.  We love the process of choosing new annual plants, planning new gardens, designing new interpretive signs, and deciding which trees need to be added to our collection.  We work tirelessly to make huge improvements to our gardens so that guests are always in awe when they visit.

  1. Plan, plan, plan!

The other items listed involve planning for the following year, but we also plan for the following five years, ten years, and beyond.  We like to think big picture during the winter while we have the time.  We discuss “what if’s” and “what about’s”, and we dream, along with many of our dedicated volunteers, about what our gardens could be like in the future.

Some of the things that we are currently planning for 2017 include completing our Hobbit Garden (the area surrounding our new Hobbit House), replanting the area in front of the Welcome Center to be more horticulturally impressive, and considering whether or not we will financially be able to add a new Mosaiculture piece or if we will reuse and reimagine the current pieces in our collection.


You can find us working in the Welcome Center Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-4:30 pm during the winter.  So, next time you’re nearby, stop out and say hey!  We’d love to see you!


Article was written by Libby Carter, Office Manager


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