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Longwood Fellows “POP” into the Scott Arboretum!

(written by Sara Levin, photographs by Raakel Toppila)

The Professional Outreach Project (POP) is an annual collaboration between the Longwood Graduate Fellows and various horticulture organizations.  Recent projects have included developing a garden design concept for the Delaware Health and Social Services and creating a meadow management plan for Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia.

The 2011 Professional Outreach Project is now underway! This year the Longwood Graduate Fellows are teaming up with the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College.   The Scott Arboretum encompasses the entire Swarthmore College campus and it is free and open to the public every day.  The beautiful grounds helped Swarthmore gain the title as one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.  In their work with the Scott Arboretum, the Fellows will look at two major issues: membership growth and strategies to increase student and community interaction with the Arboretum.

The Fellows begin this year’s project with extensive research.  They hope to get a better understanding of the Scott Arboretum, its staff, vision, programs and connection to Swarthmore College.  They will look at the curriculum and event calendar at Swarthmore to find ways to link the College to the Arboretum.  They will also benchmark other university arboreta and gardens to determine best practices for connecting students to the collections.  Finally, the Fellows will research cultural events in the Philadelphia area that may have a relevant link to programs at the Scott Arboretum.

Once they identify areas of potential growth the Fellows will give the Scott Arboretum recommendations for programs and their implementation.  The Swarthmore College events calendar will be used to add events appropriately and the Scott Arboretum’s resources will be considered to ensure the longevity of these new programs.

In the final phase of POP 2011, the Fellows will use their research to help grow the membership base by including programs and events that will attract visitors from the surrounding community.  The Fellows look forward to the product of their research in the coming weeks.  Keep up with the POP progress on the LGP blog!

Scott Arboretum – July 23, 2010

Located on the campus of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania the pristine gardens and majestic trees of Scott Arboretum make this campus one of the most beautiful in the United States. This unique setting also makes the Arboretum one of the most accessible of all public gardens; there is no admission charge and the “gates” never close. This was a great first stop for the class of 2012 to kick off their summer field trip series.

From the College’s inception in 1864 to present day, the Scott Arboretum materialized and persisted due to a common passion for plants. Swarthmore College was founded by Quakers who revered nature and maintained a close connection with the land. Some of the oldest trees that create a backdrop for the campus were planted in celebration of Founders Day, the anniversary of the founding of the College, over 130 years ago. Arthur Hoyt Scott, whose name the Arboretum bears, graduated from Swarthmore College in 1895. His love for plants prompted him to travel the world in search of interesting flora such as tree peonies and lilacs. Realizing that most people did not have the means to travel to exotic places, Scott began collecting plants for display on the grounds of Swarthmore College. Later, John Caspar Wister, a prominent landscape architect and plant fanatic, served as director of the Arboretum, receiving a salary of just one dollar per year. He continued collecting plants for demonstration and organized their planting by like genera so that species could be compared easily.

This common passion for plants is evident today, with over 100 volunteers and 26 staff who share the tasks required to make this Arboretum a beautiful destination. Claire Sawyers, former Fellow of the Longwood Graduate Program, director of the Arboretum and tour guide for the day, undoubtedly shares this reverence for plants. She can find beauty just as easily in a decaying tulip tree stump in the amphitheater to a much more blatant red-painted bur oak located in the heart of campus.

Red-painted bur oak (photo by James Hearsum)

This love for plants is infectious; students of the College take notice of elements in the landscape. The red bur oak’s predecessor, a blue Chinese maackia, had an obituary written by students when it fell to the ground in 2008.

Our visit to Scott Arboretum ended in the Wister Education Center and Greenhouse, the newest addition to the garden. The building’s name commemorates the Arboretum’s former director, just one of the many people who made our visit memorable.

A view of Crum Woods (photo by James Hearsum)

Green roof (photo by James Hearsum)

Swarthmore College campus (photo by James Hearsum)

Clair telling the group about programming at Scott Arboretum (photo by James Hearsum)

The group posing in the garden (photo by Dr. Robert Lyons)