John Zeni, and Bruce Ryan Front: Paul Toole and Mark Watchorn


Hello to All Members and Friends of the Arboretum,
For my first official act as the Barton Park Giant Trees Arboretum Inc.’s new President, I want to recognise our outgoing President, Bruce Ryan, for his dedication, altruism and the enormous amount of physical energy he has poured into establishing this arboretum.  On behalf of all of our supporters, I thank Bruce for putting this arboretum on the map.  I think it is fair to say that we could not have come this far without the superhuman effort that Bruce, Mark Watchorn and others have put in.
In terms of raw ability and pure drive, I don’t consider myself in the same league as Bruce, so stepping into this position is a little overwhelming.  While I promise to give this job my absolute best shot, I know I cannot do everything required without a whole lot of help from our great team of volunteers and supporters.  I am relieved that Bruce intends to carry on in the position of Secretary and continue seeking those all important corporate and government grants that fund the arboretum from year to year.  Mark is thankfully retaining his position as Treasurer and we welcome our new Vice President, Peter Drinkall.  Peter has shown tremendous enthusiasm and ability in taking on the creation of a new map for the arboretum, while he and Dott’s support in so many other activities on site continues to be hugely helpful.
There was a real positive energy at our Annual General Meeting last Wednesday.  Our current plan is to channel that energy towards a set of goals that includes opening the arboretum to the public for at least 4 weekends during 2016.
Our next open day is scheduled for Saturday, 30 April, 2016.  Compared to the Grand Opening held last November, our autumn open day is likely to be a bit more of a low key, lower cost affair.  We’ll have a meeting at the arboretum on 9 April, 2016 where we intend to focus on the open day and get some of the preparations started.  We invite all those who pulled together to make our Grand Opening such a great success, to please come back and help us again.
Some of our other goals for the year are a little less exciting, but still quite important for the future.  Near the top of our wish list is Deductible Gift Recipient status for the arboretum. Achieving this goal could help a lot with fund raising because corporate and individual donors could claim their contributions to the arboretum against income tax.  We are also looking at implementing a new health and safety management system to protect our volunteers, visitors and contractors who work out there.
Lastly, I have to remind all members that their annual full membership fees are now due.  The arboretum really needs everyone’s $20 membership to cover all those costs that are impossible to fund through grants.  That includes fuel and spares for the mowers plus our big annual insurance renewal.  Over the two years that I have been involved, I see a disproportionate share of these costs being born by just a few members.  Please, everyone, keep up the financial and material help so you can remain a proud, upstanding full member of Barton Park Giant Trees Arboretum.  With your help, we can continue working to make the arboretum into a valuable asset for the future of our local area and the planet.

John Zeni
President, Barton Park Giant Trees Arboretum, Inc.


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