With a Voice of Thanksgiving

For each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, for everything Thy goodness sends, for flowers that bloom about our feet; for tender grass, so fresh, so sweet; for song of bird, and hum of bee; for all the things fair we hear or see, Father in heaven, we thank Thee! – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Little Bluestem

Indian Grass

Indian Grass

Cheyenne Sky

Cheyenne Sky Switchgrass

LateSummerFlowers-2008_ 044

Monarch on New England Aster


Arkansas Bluestar Fall Color

Sugar Maple

Sugar Maple


Native Blackhaw Viburnum



Luminary Walk – Photo by Tom Sawin


May you all be blessed throughout this holiday season.



Five Reasons We are Giving Thanks at the Arboretum

November is a great time to reflect on the many blessings of the past year here at the arboretum.  We are grateful for so many things.  We enjoy serving you and serving with you to fulfill the mission of this organization, to promote through education and stewardship the conservation and use of plants native and adaptable to Kansas.

Though words cannot adequately express our appreciation and thankfulness, here are five reasons we are giving thanks this holiday season:

Generous Supporters – When I became director, I had no idea how many people there are who underwrite the work we do throughout the year. I have been amazed at the generosity of our supporters.  Your financial gifts are not taken for granted.  Each membership and each donation is accepted with much appreciation.  I view your support as a partnership.  Thank You!


9-4-2014 photo 6


Dedicated Volunteers – When people come along side us and give us their time and talent, it makes a difference. Volunteers are special people.  Last year, volunteers contributed over 2,000 hours of valuable service to help us accomplish the work of the arboretum.  We encourage volunteers to use their skills and interests to help in our valuable work.  Volunteering is a great way to support our mission, as you share your experiences about this prairie garden with others, learn about plants, meet new people and serve our visitors.  Thank You!




An Important Mission – Since its inception, the arboretum’s mission has been about the prairie. We are a prairie education facility that promotes stewardship and conservation.  Advocating for plants that use less water, teaching children about the prairie and its many benefits, and hosting events that bring visitors to the arboretum are at the heart of our calling as an organization.  Our core values have never been more important in the world.


Butterfly milkweed in the small rain garden at the arboretum


Earth Partnership for Schools (EPS) – This signature arboretum program has impacted over 21,000 students, 173 teachers from 58 schools over the past eight years. Thanks to the dedicated work of teachers, who were guided by our EPS staff, students are able to detach themselves from the daily distractions of technology, slow down and observe the beauty of the prairie.  This program perfectly fits our mission and is having a positive impact on students in Kansas.


EPS Students


A Successful Year – All the reasons above and many more have helped the arboretum continue to grow this year. Our goal is to increase our influence, educate more people, and enhance the arboretum gardens and programs we offer throughout the year.  We had one of our most successful years because of your efforts and support.  THANK YOU!


Bonus Reason! Dedicated Staff – I am fortunate to lead a team who love the arboretum. These individuals strive daily to champion the mission of the arboretum and provide you with excellent programs and events.  I wish you could see their diligence, hard work and passion.  I am blessed to serve with them.  Thanks Brad, Janelle, and Brett!

Take time to count your blessings.   Be grateful for the good things you enjoy.



Seven Reasons to Attend This Years’ Luminary Walk

Over the years, the Winter Luminary Walk at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains has become a tradition for many people.  Here are my top seven reasons to be part of this unique event:



The south bridge is one of our favorite spots along the path during the luminary walk, especially on a magically snowy night. Photo by Ken Raney.


  • Enjoy the natural beauty of the gardens in winter.  Thousands of lights bring the arboretum to life, highlighting the pure, organic forms of the trees, shrubs and prairie plants.
  • Relax and stroll the pathways with more than 900 jars and candles lighting the way.  No commercial glitz – just the simple, soft light of candles.
  • Roast s’mores.  Warm yourself by the fires and roast a marshmallow.  Sticky fingers, but oh so good.
  • Drink hot almond tea with Christmas cookies in the Visitor Center.  This drink is perfect on a cold winter night along with cookies from the Hesston Women’s Civic Club and other volunteers.


Luminary Walk 2008 Bonfire

Walkers gather around the fire to roast marshmallows.


  • Make memories at the Arboretum.  It is great to be with family and friends spending an evening together.  Forget about the hustle and bustle of the season, slow down and enjoy together everything this time of the year has to offer.
  • Be creative. Each night children will make crafts that relate to a different culture’s holiday traditions.
  • Learn about other cultures.  With the theme “Joy to the World: A Multicultural Celebration”, this year’s luminary walk will include performers, crafts, stories and an outdoor nativity representing a variety of cultural perspectives.


Crafts at Luminary Walk

Stop in to the buildings to warm up and be creative during craft time.


We at the arboretum enjoy hosting this special event.  It is unique because it invokes fond memories of Christmas’ past while making new memories with the special people in your lives.  Come, relax, and enjoy this one-of-a-kind Christmas celebration.

For this year’s Luminary Walk schedule and line-up of performers, click here.