POP 2012 Comes to an End

Summer is at an end, and so, sadly, is this year’s Professional Outreach Project (POP). On October 8th the Fellows had their third and final POP Advisory Committee (POPAC) meeting. Since the last POPAC meeting, we have been working to finish the internal way finding and interpretation material, compiling the final report, and printing our first real signs. The Fellows are now taking the final steps to finish the project and summary report.

To complete the internal signage portion of the project, Fellows first talked with staff members, studied maps, and analyzed the landscape. We wanted to find where material would be most effective in reaching guests with their message, as well as helping them navigate inside the garden. In total, six different garden landscapes were chosen for new interpretation signs. The goals in designing these signs was visual consistency throughout the whole garden, quick and easy to locate and read, and most importantly, informative. The design template and wording for all the interpretation signs were presented to POPAC and all agreed that they were very well done.

The Fellows also started work on the final report, the culmination of the past three-month’s work. Everyone chipped in to help write, revise, and compile the report, which has now been submitted. General Manager and POPAC member, Chris van de Velde and Awbury Arboretum’s board will now have the opportunity to review the work completed by the Fellows.

One of the most exciting events leading up to the final POPAC meeting was printing the first sign. With the help of Barry & Homer in Philadelphia, the Fellows were able to print a mock-up of one of the smaller entryway signs. After months of looking at computer images, it was exhilarating to hold the actual sign in our hands. Better yet was being able to present it to the committee. We have decided to try to print all the exterior signs and have them installed first, before going forward with printing and installing the internal signs.

Although the project is almost complete, and POPAC had great comments and feedback on our progress thus far, still, there are a few final tasks to be completed. The plant list for the entranceway areas will be completed in the coming weeks, but the beds won’t be planted until after the signs are installed. We are also in the process of updating the location of walking paths on Google maps.

This project has been a great learning experience for all of us. We would like to extend special thanks to Awbury Arboretum and to our Advisory Committee, which includes Chris van de Velde, General Manager of Awbury Arboretum, Dottie Miles, Interpretation and Exhibits Manager at Longwood Gardens, Beth Miner, Director of Outreach at Awbury Arboretum, and Dr. Robert Lyons, Chair, and Director of the Longwood Graduate Program.

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About Joshua Darfler

Joshua grew up in rural New York spending much of his time outside in gardens, parks, and natural environments. While at Binghamton University he received his major in Cellular Molecular Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies. Even though his classes required a lot of time inside a lab, he took every opportunity to be outside working with plants. Every summer he would return to his hometown to work at a native plant nursery or help on small-scale organic farms in the region. During his senior year he helped start a community support agriculture program focused on students at his university and also started a student volunteer program to help clean up and improve local parks and green spaces. After graduating in 2011, Joshua accepted the propagation internship position at the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. Here Josh truly cultivated his love for plants, greenhouses, and public gardens, thus driving him to pursue and accept a position in the Longwood Graduate Program.