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Late Fall 2013

TreeLine Goes Treeless

A Tree for Viola

You’re holding the penultimate paper issue of TreeLine (don’t choke up!). After much discussion, the Board has decided that it can spread the good word about the Arboretum more effectively electronically, now that we have a really elegant, always current website ( and a webmaster of great skill and energy (Marc Cheshire). Nearly all of our members and other patrons get their recreation information from the Internet, and since we love trees, we love to save paper, not to mention the considerable cost of printing and mailing.

Viola Davis, who left us all in 2012, was a revered member of our Board from our early days until 2004 when her health began to fail. A retired science teacher of renown (a national Teacher of the Year), Viola was our tireless liaison with Croton schools and did much to promote the Arboretum as an educational resource.

We know we have members without ready access to the web, and our concern for them has delayed us until now. We plan to snail mail important announcements and periodic updates to those who remain offline, just Viola’s oak, imagined as we will e-mail them to the online crowd. So we need your e-mail addresses! We’ve issued this plea before, and many responded, but now we can’t do without them. We understand reluctance to share e-mails, but we pledge that we will:    

Never share your address with anyone or use it other than for Arboretum communications. Not drown you in e-mails—just notices of events, plus occasional online summaries. Ask only once a year that you renew your membership and, if you forget, remind you just once.

There’s a renewal slip enclosed in this issue with space for your e-mail. Please fill that in even if you think we have yours, as they do change.

Donations to the Viola Davis Arboretum in her honor reached more than $800, and we plan to use them to plant a grand tree in her honor. We’ve chosen an oak, for the strength it symbolizes. We will plant her tree near the Arboretum entrance in the spring and announce the dedication as soon as the date is set.

Rejoice and Rejoin It’s that joyful, stressful time of year, when everyone asks you to fund their good cause. We are no exception, and it’s time to renew your membership in the Arboretum for 2014. Annual dues are still only $25 for the whole family, and we are a 501(c)(3) organization, so all donations are tax deductible. Extra is greatly appreciated, of course, and if your employer has a matching grant program, please send us the form. We will always encourage members and nonmembers alike to enjoy our wetland park, but your support as a member is vitally important to us not only for the funding it provides, but as a measure of community support, crucial when we apply for a grant to fund improvements or critical maintenance. There’s a renewal slip inside.

Another Great Garden Tour Thanks to the generosity of homeowners who opened their beautiful gardens, friends who donated plants for sale, hard work by many loyal volunteers, and perfect weather, our annual Croton Arboretum Garden Tour raised nearly $4,400. Variety was the keynote this year, with a rare bog garden, two Village gardens—one with a berry patch, vegetables, flowers and a small orchard and the other with a delightful pool and plantings hidden by the lay of the land; a magnificent park-like property, with vegetable and berry gardens, an orchard, a woodland garden with mature plantings and trails, a rock garden, and two Japanese gardens; another Japanese garden on a narrow ledge over the Croton gorge, designed for maximum advantage of a spectacular view; and a long-established Ossining garden featuring solar electric generation and water conservation. The garden tour is our main fund-raising event, and we want to thank everyone who made this year’s tour such a success: Michael Bakwin, Nicole and Neil Graham, Jane and John Hackenburg, Maureen Morgan, Anneli and Brian Stanton, Taisuke Soda and Richard Lembach, who opened their gardens for our tour; Nyla Isele and the Grahams, who provided those delicious refreshments, Karen Jescavage-

Butterflies enjoying one of the lush gardens (above) and veggies growing in front of the solar panel array at the very green Ossining garden.

Bernard, Karen Drotzer, and Betty Gatewood, who donated and cosseted the plants for our sale; Fran Allen, Celeste Baxter, Marc Cheshire, Don Daubney, Dana Holland, Cathy Klein-Scheer, Mary Lally, Pat Mackin, Jill Mader, Vera Plummer, Jean Rivlin, Carol Shanesy, Jane Shumsky, Rhoda Stephens, Pat Tetlow, Lotti Tobler, Lois Waldman, Sally West, and ToyKen Yee, who helped as docents, balloon wranglers, ticket sellers, map makers, as photographers. Laura Seitz None of this would happen at all, however, without our Gardener-in -Chief. Laura Seitz has chaired or co-chaired this tour since its start, and we are in our 17th year. She finds the gardens, cajoles the owners (who really labor to show their gardens at their best), writes the garden descriptions, finds another garden at the last minute when catastrophe strikes, donates plants to our sale, and hosts the debriefing-thank-you luncheon.Thank you, thank you, Laura!

We’re in Good Hands . . . An unspoiled nature preserve in the heart of Croton, open and accessible to all, is a community treasure and the fundamental raison d’etre for the Arboretum. Since its future lies in the hands of coming generations, we are delighted when young folks explore it or, even

Above: A team of sixth-graders from Havurah on Hudson take a break from spreading mulch on our trails for a photo op. The mission of Havurah is to facilitate Jewish learning and identity in children of its members.

Ethan and Aaron Lewis with their prize-winning Halloween poster. Ethan raised more than $1,000 for the Arboretum by selling reusable bags that were donated by the owners of Feed the Birds.

better, help us maintain it. Here are some highlights in pictures. Not shown is the work of Chris Caterino, latest in a succession of Croton-Harmon High School seniors who have helped us with their CHOOSE projects. More on Chris’ work later.

Above: CET students check out the Arboretum booth at the CET Carnival in September. Lots of interest from the younger set as well at our booths at Earth Day in April, Croton’s Summerfest in June, and Hudson River Day in July.

Barry Keegan, an expert on the Native Americans who once populated this area, demonstrates fire-making. This November event was Barry’s fourth visit to Croton and here, as always, he has a large and rapt audience . But will it work? (Check page 4!)

Please Join Us on February 6 . . . Or Sign That Proxy

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

The Arboretum will hold its annual meeting on February 6 at 8 pm in the small conference room on the second floor of the Municipal Building. Members are encouraged to attend (and are most welcome at any meeting), but if you cannot attend, please fill out the enclosed proxy. Members elect directors for three-year terms, and then the directors choose officers for one-year terms. Directors Fran Allen, Don Daubney, and Carol Voila—fire! In addition to showing how to start a fire without modern assists, Barry demonstrated flint knapping and many other arts practiced by the Native Americans of this area. He also brought a fascinating collection of artifacts from these peoples and the colonists who came after them. We thank the Croton Free Library for hosting and cosponsoring this event. Got comments? Drop us a line at the Croton Arboretum, PO Box 631, or contact us through our website:

Shanesy are standing for re-election. We will also review our accomplishments in the past year and plans for the future. Two of our directors, Ken Sargeant and Kent Patterson, have retired because of other commitments, leaving our board in need of new blood. If you are interested in working with us, please contact us at the website below. And thank you, Ken and Kent—we miss you!

Treeline, late fall 2013  

The newsletter of the Jane E. Lytle Memorial Arboretum.

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