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Fall 2010

Whereas . . . The Boardwalk Extension Gets Dedicated Whereas,

we are here today to open the extended boardwalk that makes our Arboretum more accessible to nature lovers of all ages; and

Whereas, the Croton Arboretum and Sanctuary, Inc. is a volunteer, non-profit organization that has provided environmental stewardship of the Jane E. Lytle Arboretum since the Arboretum’s founding in 1993; and

Mayor Wiegman proclaims October 23 “Arboretum Day” as the latest section of the boardwalk is officially opened. Cortlandt Trustee Ann Lindau, Arboretum Vice-President Don Daubney, John Bernard, Arboretum President Karen JescavageBernard, Croton Trustee Rick Olver, and Assemblywoman Sandy Galef look on...as Builder Dan Ferguson does the honors.

Whereas, the new boardwalk extension is 224 feet long and leads visitors through the Arboretum’s rare shrub and hardwood swamp; and Whereas, the Arboretum’s 20 acres are a jewel in the crown of the extensive trail system present throughout our Village; and

Whereas, the Arboretum is open free of charge 365 days a year from dawn to dusk for hikers, birders, plant lovers, and those who simply enjoy a peaceful pause among tall trees; and Whereas, our Village is truly blessed to have such a wonderful organization as the Croton Arboretum and Sanctuary, which works so well with governmental, corporate, and other non-profit partners; and

Whereas, such events as this opening–and the mulch spreading by volunteers that immediately follows the opening–capture the essence of the Arboretum’s success at bringing us together to both enjoy the outdoors and help maintain a healthy and vibrant Arboretum; I, Leo A. W. Wiegman, now therefore humbly proclaim, with the power vested in me by the State of New York as your Mayor of our Village of Croton-on-Hudson, that this day, Saturday, the 23rd of October, 2010, shall be “Jane E. Lytle Arboretum Day” throughout our Village; and I now further humbly proclaim, that therefore, all those in attendance here today are hereby declared residents of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson for the day, regardless of their domicile, with all the benefits and responsibilities that adhere thereto; and That, our Village is a state of mind that enthusiastically embraces the commitment to work together voluntarily to maintain this shining example of a hardwood wetland habitat. — Leo A. W. Wiegman, Mayor


It’s That Time . . . Renew Your Membership

Nature is not a place to visit. It is home. —Gary Snyder

In our previous issue, we announced our decision to move renewal time from May to December, because many of our members prefer to renew at year end while making other charitable donations. As a result, existing members enjoyed a six-month “holiday.” However, that holiday is over, and we urge you to renew before the official holidays overwhelm. Even though the Arboretum is open to everyone, your membership is extremely important to us. Your commitment helps us stay a vital part of Croton, obtain grants, and generally spread the word.

A renewal slip is enclosed. We hope you will include your e-mail address, as we plan to do more of our communication over the Internet to save postage (see box on page 3). And we never share your addresses, not ever. Some of you renewed without a reminder and are all paid up for 2011, for which many thanks. If you’re one of these, there will be a notation on your renewal slip. As always, extra contributions and employer matches are most welcome— indeed crucial—additions.

CET Introduces Kinder Crowd to Croton Treasures CET Kindergarten parents got the 2010/2011 school year started by meeting with the various organizations that support students throughout the district at September’s Kindergarten Social. President Karen Jescavage-Bernard manned the Arboretum table, chatting with CET staff as well as incoming students and their parents. The extension of the boardwalk in the sanctuary has improved accessibility so that even the youngest hiker can enjoy the native flora and fauna the Arboretum has to offer. We hope that school faculty and staff will consider our preserve as a prime resource for the hands-on science programs and as an “outdoor lab” for the district.

Future Croton Tiger Sabine Godwin, right, checks out the next course as the ice cream detail—CET PTA Presidents Jennifer Kooney and Kristi Godek—scoops frantically.


Step by Step . . . Since 1993, our volunteers and contractors have built hiking trails, overlooks, boardwalks and bridges to bring visitors into and through the varied natural habitats in the Arboretum. Our largest capital project is a quarter-mile long handicapped-accessible trail that starts at the parking lot, wanders over compact gravel and small bridges to a boardwalk across the Arboretum’s central wetland, enters a gazebo built for outdoor classes and nature watching, and returns to the parking lot through woods and marshland. To date, 500 feet of trail is fully accessible. From 2007-2010, an additional 525 feet of raised decking was built, but awaits ADA-mandated side railings in order to be handicapped accessible. A final 280 feet of trail remains to be built. In the interest of protecting our wetlands and also supporting the market for green building materials, all structures at the Arboretum have been built from recycled plastic lumber. This ongoing project has been made possible thanks to members, donors and our active Board of Directors, who have raised funds through events such as annual garden tours, concerts and other cultural programs. Grant support for Arboretum projects came from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Scenic Hudson and Chase Bank, and generous private donors. We embarked on the most recent section after the NYS Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation pledged $10,000 toward the cost. (See page 1 for the happy dedication ceremony.) The Arboretum has partnered with a number of civic organizations, including the Saw Mill River Audubon Society, Croton’s Eagle Scouts, Croton-Harmon High School’s CHOOSE Project, Temple Israel, as well as volunteers from the Croton community. 2011 will mark our 18th year. We continue to fulfill the mission of philanthropist Sam Rubin, who donated the land with the stipulation that it be used as a wildlife sanctuary and for conservation education. We look forward to presenting exciting new programs, as well as progressing to final completion of the loop trail that will make Croton’s great outdoors accessible to visitors with diverse interests and abilities.

It does not matter How slowly you go So long as you Do not stop. Confucius


No fruit, no flowers, no leaves November! —Thomas Hood

Thinking Summer . . .

A Stalwart Retires

The leaves are scarcely down, but it’s time to start planning our 2011 summer Garden Tour. If you know of a garden, or a special landscape, or a collection of unusual plants that should be showcased on the tour, let us know. Drop us a line at P.O. Box 631, Croton-on-Hudson or send us an e-mail at crotonarboretum.org (click “contact us” on the upper right) and tell us what’s special about the garden. Our Garden Tour co-chairs will take it from there.

With many regrets, the Board accepted the resignation of Mark Magel, one of our longest-serving directors, in November. Mark, a master gardener, recently started a new business—designing and installing private and institutional gardens in Manhattan—which places great demands on his time.

. . . And Winter Too Arborist Craig Stevens, who always leads our winter “tree identification” walk in the Arboretum, will not be available during February. Since Craig is such an irreplaceably knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide, we plan to skip the usual Groundhog Day scheduling and try for a date later in the winter or in early spring.

Mark made countless contributions to the Arboretum during his tenure. He created the first Arboretum website and maintained it for years. He gave a number of lectures on gardening at the Library—including “dollars and sense” landscaping and gardening with deer—that were widely praised. And as a master gardener, he was a ready source of expertise on all matters green. We thank him for all of his contributions, and we shall miss his quiet and reasoned advice very much.

Don’t forget to renew — send in that slip! (see page 2)


Treeline Newsletter, Fall 2010