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  • Arboretum Receives Multi-Project Grant from the Aldarra Foundation

The Arboretum partners are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a very generous grant of $589,000 from the Aldarra Foundation, a long-time supporting organization. The grant will help fund six separate projects and initiatives in the near and long term.

Just over $200,000 of the grant will be used to fund new UW Botanic Gardens horticulture staffing initiatives in 2022. A grant from Aldarra back in July 2021 enabled us to add two new gardener positions for six months to help with restoration plantings and maintenance in Rhododendron Glen and along the Lake Washington Boulevard corridor.

The 2022 grant allocation will allow us to continue funding these important positions, as well as bring in seasonal gardeners. The additional horticulture staff will nurture the hundreds of recently planted specimens in the Glen and along the Boulevard during the all-important establishment period and help with extensive new plantings slated for this year in the Holly Collection, Gateway to Chile area, and Oak Collection, as well as along Arboretum Creek and Foster Island Drive.

New plantings in Rhododendron Glen.

$15,000 of the grant will go towards the purchase and installation of a new reinforced metal canopy structure in the maintenance yard. The canopy will be used to store and protect valuable specialized equipment, such as our new tree spade, from the elements. Currently much of that equipment is being stored outside and sheltered from rain and other weather by tarps.

$45,000 of the grant was used to launch this year’s matching pool at the Arboretum Foundation’s annual gala and auction, THE ART OF NATURE, on February 10. The funds acted as an incentive to encourage other gifts during the event and will now be applied toward two specific initiatives: support of special on-grounds, arts-focused programming during the year and core support of volunteer programs.

In an exciting development, $75,000 of the grant will be used to create a new Community Outreach Coordinator position supporting UW Botanic Gardens and the Arboretum Foundation. The new position will focus on ensuring equitable access and inclusive programming at the Arboretum and build new relationships with diverse communities in the greater Seattle area based on ethnic, gender, and economic metrics.

Seattle Parks’ 2018 concept drawing for re-envisioned Crabapple Meadow.

Looking to the future, $175,000 of the Aldarra grant will be used to kick-start a project repurposing the existing Crabapple Meadow for use as a year-round gathering and celebration space. Entitled the “Woodland Meadow and Volunteer Celebration Garden,” the reimagined space will be dedicated to the legacy of volunteer support and service at the Arboretum. The project will pick up from a conceptual design created in 2018 by Seattle Parks and funded by the Friends of Seattle Olmsted Parks.

That study and design envisioned several enhancements to the current site to make it a more functional space, such as addressing its poor drainage in an ecologically sound way, adding appropriate infrastructure needed to accommodate events and celebrations, and installing pathways. The grant funding will allow us to take the next steps, including design and construction development, permit applications, and creating graphics to support project fundraising.

Finally, and looking even farther ahead, $75,000 of the grant will be used to fund planning and public engagement around the North Entry Project. This project is centered on the eventual return of the 28-acre WSDOT Peninsula to the Arboretum later in the decade, once the 520 Bridge replacement is complete. It has the potential to be one of most significant additions of urban parkland in Seattle’s core in our generation, and the Arboretum partners understand our responsibility in ensuring that community access is optimized and that the land is effectively and purposefully utilized.

Preliminary concept drawing of the new North Entry by the Berger Partnership.

The Arboretum Foundation, UW Botanic Gardens, and Seattle Parks and Recreation would like to thank the Aldarra Foundation for its continued support of the Arboretum—and for generously paving the way for these exciting developments.