Few experiences are more joyous for gardeners than seeing the fruits of a season’s labors, such as vegetables, fruits and flowers, start to blossom. For the Bird, Tree & Garden Club, that fruition will come today as members and donors gather for the annual Life Member Luncheon.
The BTG’s 2018 luncheon will take place at noon Friday, Aug. 3, at the Athenaeum Hotel and will be focused around the recently rededicated Arboretum, honoring the past and looking into the future. Tying in closely with the luncheon’s theme, Lori Brockelbank, certified arborist and project manager with the Davey Resource Group, will be the guest speaker.
Brockelbank said she is honored to have been selected as this year’s speaker and have the chance to discuss a topic she cares deeply about. Brockelbank said she is excited to discuss the relevance of the trees on the grounds, not only in the Arboretum.
“I’m in awe learning about the history of the trees specifically,” Brockelbank said, “not only in the Arboretum, but on the grounds, the historical relevance (these trees have). … It’s pretty amazing. It’s sort of a hidden gem people aren’t aware of.”
Working as an arborist in the northeast for the past 10 years, Brockelbank said she has been blessed to have had many great people to help her along a journey she described as humbling. Growing up in a small town not far from Chautauqua County that was surrounded by woods, Brockelbank said her love and passion for trees grew as she hiked around the area every day growing up. It is this passion to protect these things she holds so dearly that has kept her going.
“I just fell in love with them every day,” Brockelbank said. “I know I’m making the world a better place for my children and everyone around me. I’m just making it better one tree at a time.”
Brockelbank said that she’s lucky to be able to work in a region that has top scientists, like as Mark Whitmore at Cornell University, who are passionate and dedicated to their work. However, efforts are still not at the level she would like to see overall.
“Awareness and federal funding are still not where they should be, to be quite honest,” Brockelbank said. “More citizens need to be aware. We need to be spreading the news a lot more.”
Brockelbank will focus less on the preservation and more on the history and stories behind the trees that cover the grounds of the Institution.
“Everyone can look at trees in their own yard and have stories for them and what those impacts are going to be for their children and generations (to come),” Brockelbank said.
A tradition for decades, the luncheon is an opportunity for members to gather and recap events of the season, with a speaker discussing a topic related to the natural world, according to BTG President Angela James.
With trees not being the main focus of the luncheon for a few years, James said it seemed like a great chance to return to the topic with the dedication of the Arboretum this year.
“Trees are our middle name,” James said. “They’re always there, they’re the foundation of any garden and needed increased visibility.”
The luncheon, open to BTG life members and volunteers, is sold out.