Our Dyck Arboretum staff and board (with facilitation from our member and consultant, John Simmering) have been doing a lot of self review over the last year in search of a new mission statement for the future. Our two-part mission statement for the past 36 years has been as follows:
The Dyck Arboretum of the Plains promotes, through education and stewardship, the conservation and use of plants native and adaptable to Kansas.
The Arboretum maintains gardens and prairie plant collections for education and conservation, providing a natural setting for reflection and appreciation of nature.
While it was relevant in the early days of the Arboretum, for what we have evolved to today, this old mission statement has become restrictive. It doesn’t recognize the relationships we develop with our supporters through music, history, culture, the arts, rentals, healthy bodies, and environmental stewardship. This old mission statement is also quite long, hard to remember, and mixes mission with vision.
Evie and Harold Dyck’s dream for the Arboretum has brought us through 37 years of changes. Now we’re expanding on their mission and vision.
Our consultant gave us guidance to make our new mission statement simple, inclusive in scope, and unrestrictive in geography. After many meetings, round table discussions with members and supporters, surveys, individual staff reflections and feedback sessions with our board, we came up with the following new mission statement:
Dyck Arboretum of the Plains cultivates transformative relationships between people and the land.
In the following, I’ll pick apart and explain, using visual aids, more of the meaning our staff used to describe each of the words in this new mission statement and offer photos from our archives that might further illustrate each of these thoughts for the public.
For further interpretation of what we do at Dyck Arboretum, one can turn to our vision and initiatives. A vision statement should further flesh out details regarding how we support our mission and the initiatives detail what we actually do to carry out that vision. Our vision and initiative statements are a work-in-progress, but along the way we’ll share what we have been working on and welcome your input.
To support our mission, we have four elements in this current version of our vision statement.
Education – Introduce people to the native landscapes of Kansas, promote ecological diversity, encourage citizen science, and re-connect people to nature.
Community – Enable people to find a sense of place, encourage empathy for diversity of people and organisms, and create both active and passive community engagement experiences.
Arts – Be a source of diverse educational experiences and provide innovative and creative pathways to help people connect to our mission.
Organizational Sustainability – Model sustainable management of staff, infrastructure and finances, for long-term health of the Arboretum.
The principal initiatives that help us carry out our vision include prairie conservation and native/adaptable plant landscaping, maintained gardens with contemplative spaces, spring and fall FloraKansas native plant festivals, tours of the Arboretum, visits to important locations in Kansas, landscaping classes and private landscaping consultations, a winter lecture series, a spring education symposium, school field trips, and our Kansas Earth Partnership for Schools Program. Other initiatives that introduce new people to our mission, develop relationships in community, and help us establish a sense of place here at Dyck Arboretum include our Prairie Window Concert Series, Winter Luminary Walk, Go Green Leprechaun Run, visual art displays, a gift shop, and rental of our facilities and grounds.
Thanks for following what we do and for helping support our mission. The relationships we cultivate with you are what we are all about!