Ask Elaine: Volunteering in Laurelwood Arboretum

Dear Elaine,

I have enjoyed walking through Laurelwood Arboretum and would like to volunteer in the gardens. Maybe the work techniques and timing can help me take care of my own property.

Thanks for the information.

Dear Renée,

It is wonderful that you want to be a good steward of your property. And thank you for your offer to help at Laurelwood Arboretum. “Many hands make light work.”

Our volunteers are busy all year ‘round. Beginning in April, our on-site outdoor volunteers meet Tuesday and Friday mornings to restore and maintain Laurelwood’s gardens. We meet 9am in the Pavilion, next to the Knippenberg Center for Education. We ask that volunteers bring gloves, water, wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. We have a weekly project that has been reviewed and selected by me and Joan Scott-Miller, our horticultural manager. We finish about 11:30 or noon. Light refreshments are offered, in the Dorothy Knippenberg style. Other outdoor activities include site management and construction to improve the arboretum’s bridges, buildings, drainage, vehicles, tools and infrastructure. We continue outdoor activities through the month of October.

Many of our garden volunteers are Rutgers Master Gardeners who have been trained in the research-based formula of Rutgers, the land-grant college of New Jersey. They have received about 60 hours of lectures and demonstrations, and then have the responsibility of volunteering at public sites to become a certified Rutgers Master Gardener. Laurelwood Arboretum is one such site.

Volunteers weed, mulch, prune, plant and sometimes design our gardens. We offer monthly educational programs and festivities to encourage teamwork and show our appreciation for the time and talents that our dedicated volunteers share with Laurelwood.

In the winter, committees meet and plan events, programs, tours, displays, projects, fund-raisers, write newsletters and grants, and take care of greenhouse plants.

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at Laurelwood Arboretum. I hope that you will join us. You will meet many like-minded friends in the garden.

Happy Spring!
Elaine Fogerty, Executive Director

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