August 16, 2007
Operating a nursery, community garden, or small arboretum can enhance your organization’s programming and, in some cases, provide unrestricted revenue to support your mission. Establishing and sustaining such an operation requires substantial commitment. Learn more about the challenges of site management, the business assumptions that sustain operations, and how these sites are used to enhance public education and outreach.
Operating a Nursery, Community Garden, or Arboretum Resource List
Mike Bradshaw, Interim Executive Director, Texas Trees Foundation
Glenda Daniel, Urban Greening Director, Openlands (Chicago, IL)
In 2002 TXU provided $140,000 in funding and 360 volunteers to create the nation’s largest-known urban tree farm, operated by Texas Trees Foundation. The four-acre TXU Urban Tree Farm at Richland College features state-of-the-art production and irrigation technology with the capacity to produce 7,000 ten-gallon trees per planting season. Trees are offered to the public through the Trees For Texas program. In order to meet community needs and provide income to the foundation, in 2005 the Foundation opened a $350,000 ten-acre Hamilton Park Tree Farm in a remote parking lot of Texas Instruments. The site is ideally suited for above-ground growing of the larger, twenty-gallon trees. It is covered with asphalt, drains well, is in close proximity to water, and is fenced and secure.
Openlands runs an educational arboretum that teaches about trees through multi-divisional curriculum (math, science, social studies, language arts, etc.). There are 50 active teachers with the program, and several hundred that use the resources. The Arboretum is maintained by Openlands’ TreeKeeper volunteers. As a next step, the arboretum will be expanding to a public walk focusing on native, shade, and ornamental trees. The project came about because Openlands didn’t have a site of their own. Previously they were helping others community gardens to thrive, but now they have a permanent place in which to stage programs.
Brown Bag attendees will learn:
* Successes and challenges.
* Integrating education, volunteers, and training into the program.
* Achieving financial and operational sustainability.
* Engaging funding partners.
About the Brown Bag Lunch Series
The Brown Bag Lunch Series is a monthly webcast held at the lunch hour and made possible through support from The Home Depot Foundation and USDA Forest Service. The goal is to create informal training opportunities for local urban and community forestry organizations. The series is geared to mainly serve the needs of volunteer organizations and community groups. While the webcasts are open to all, the content is most likely to be of interest to practitioners who work directly with the public, volunteers, or youth.
The trainings leverage local successes by amplifying to a larger audience the model organizations’ methods, materials, and approaches. Sessions are planned to last no more than one hour, with two presenters speaking on the same topic from slightly different perspectives, each for 10–15 minutes, followed by 10–15 minutes of questions and answers.