Ray Larson talks about Sarah's passion of teaching and plant conservation in the Woodland Garden.

Ray Larson talks about Sarah’s passion for teaching and plant conservation in the Woodland Garden.

On October 13, friends, students, colleagues, family members, and devotees of Dr. Sarah Reichard gathered to honor her life and accomplishments. The UW Botanic Gardens director died suddenly and unexpectedly in late August while leading a plant tour to South Africa. Read her obituary in the Seattle Times.

As part of a day-long memorial ceremony for Sarah, UWBG hosted a wonderful “Celebration of Life” walk through the Arboretum on the afternoon the 13th. Despite heavy rain, hundreds of people attended. Curator of Living Collections Ray Larson, UWBG Interim Director Fred Hoyt, and Director Emeritus of the Arboretum John Wott stationed themselves at three of Sarah’s favorite places in the park—the Woodland Garden, the Camellia Collection, and Pacific Connections, respectively—shared personal stories, and spoke about Sarah’s work and legacy.

Later in the evening, UWBG hosted a more formal ceremony at the Don James Center, in Husky Stadium. The turn-out was large, and the room was filled with wonderful photos of Sarah. Speakers included UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences Director Tom DeLuca, UW College of the Environment Dean Lisa Graumlich, Brooklyn Botanic Garden Director Scot Medbury, Seattle Parks and Recreation Deputy Superintendent Christopher Williams, and plantsman Dan Hinkley.

Scot Medbury, John Wott, and Rita Rae Cloney at the evening memorial ceremony for Sarah.

Scot Medbury, John Wott, and Rita Rae Cloney at the evening memorial ceremony for Sarah.

Arboretum Foundation Board Vice President Jim Reid spoke on our behalf, expressing the Foundation’s deep sadness and profound sense of loss at Sarah’s passing. He also spoke about her successful leadership and compelling vision for the future of the Arboretum and the Center for Urban Horticulture. “Sarah was a scholar—a teacher, researcher, author, and mentor. But she stepped outside that environment to champion the Arboretum and CUH in the public eye…Visionary and historian, innovator and implementer, scholar and public leader, mentor and life-long learner…Thank you, Sarah, for continuing to teach, guide, and inspire.”

Two funds have now been set up in Sarah’s honor:

1. The Professor Sarah E. Reichard Endowed Fund for UW Botanic Gardens will support public education, outreach, student education, research, and general maintenance and improvement of gardens and plant collections at UWBG.

2. The Sarah Reichard Endowed Fellowship will support graduate students within the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences who are engaged in studies with the UW Botanic Gardens.