This week, is National Public Gardens Week. All week we are celebrating, with other public gardens around the country, the unique role botanical gardens and arboreta have in our communities and neighborhoods.
In the last month we have been preparing for and hosting many different events and celebrations, including our spring FloraKansas Native Plant Festival, during which we sold over 15,000 plants. During graduation weekend, there were several graduation receptions and parties, and in the next two weeks we will host four weddings, a college alumni luncheon and the Kansas Native Plant Society board meeting.
We are happy to be part of this community. Your support helps us fulfill our mission to cultivate transformative relationships between people and the land. We are truly grateful.
Over the past several weeks, I have been reflecting on how/why I got into this crazy world of horticulture. I think it started by working in the vegetable garden and then planting trees around our family farm. Like most teenagers, I grumbled, but at some level I enjoyed it. I had the opportunity to get my hands dirty and establish plants that I watched grow and mature. It started simply, with a little curiosity and enjoyment of being in nature.
The Dyck Arboretum of the Plains Earth Partnership for Schools (EPS) program takes the same approach. Through the training of teachers, we are able to introduce generations of students to the wonders of prairie plants and the pollinators and wildlife they attract. Children are naturally curious and these school prairie gardens are an oasis and teaching tool in science, math, music, art, biology and so much more.
For many of these students, these prairie gardens may provide the first opportunity for them to plant a plant or watch a monarch butterfly on their milkweeds. These students are the next generation of land stewards. The more they understand and appreciate the land, the more they will be able to care for and protect it for future generations.
We believe the EPS program, which is celebrating its thirteenth year in 2019, is vitally important in shaping future leaders who are aware of and connected to the natural world around them.
As part of our membership in the American Public Gardens Association, we have the unique opportunity to participate in a one-week-long, flash fundraising campaign, called the MYGARDEN campaign. We are seeking funding support for the upcoming EPS summer institute. This year we are hosting over 30 teachers from 12 schools. Help fund their participation in this inspiring week of training. To date, over 40,000 Kansas students have been impacted by the EPS program. Your gift will have an impact now and into the future as more children become stewards of the land.