Honoree Team 2014 – Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum

Congrats to Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum for being honored as an outstanding community volunteers!

TEAM_Friends of the ArboretumTeam Name:  Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum

Team Members:  Jack Reynolds, Mary Dalessi – Immediate Past President , Steve  Eldredge – Vice President, Finance, Pat Del Giorgio Florentine – Vice President, Membership, RJ Stager – Treasurer, Jetta Miles – Secretary, Dick Foster – President Elect

Nominating Organization:  California State University, Fullerton – Arboretum

Honoree Category:  Education

Why Nominated:  Nonprofit Mission: Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum support the 26-acre botanical garden located on the northeast corner of Cal State Fullerton. The “Friends” coordinate the work of the many volunteers needed to maintain the gardens, programs and events. Their mission is to provide visitors the opportunity to gain knowledge and appreciation of the plant world through the many collections at the Fullerton Arboretum.

In FY12/13 over 21,123 hours were donated in volunteer hours by the Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum. Their signature program is the Children’s Environmental Education Program (CEEP) was originally developed by volunteers with guidance from Arboretum Education Director.  The program is now in its’ 10th year and reaches more than 4,000 3rd grade students annually.

The commission formalized the Friends as a non- profit corporation, establishing a license and support agreement in 1982. Friends took on the tasks of fund-raising, education, gift shop sales and operations. Quickly the Friends began plant sales and other efforts. Among the new tasks of the organization was creation of a public relations program for the Arboretum.

Starting in 1974, community leaders considered staging a plant show as a fund-raising activity for the future arboretum. This spring event is now the Green Scene Garden Show, a premier garden event in Southern California. Each April the Arboretum is turned into an impressive presentation of plants for sale by the Friends’ Potters, dozens of exhibitors and local garden clubs offering specialty plants for sale. A two-day event, Green Scene is one of the principal fund-raising efforts of the Friends and an attraction bringing many return visitors and financial support to the Arboretum each year.

Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum support the gardens through membership dues, fund-raising events and volunteers. In 2003, Friends membership grew to 1800 with representation from the cities of North Orange County, the farther reaches of California and greater distances outside of California. The Arboretum relies on membership contributions at various levels, volunteers and private donations to maintain operations and to fulfill its mission.

As members of the Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum, they seek out the volunteer needs and fulfill them with their time and expertise. From the coordination of the treasured community annual events to the assistance in the unique botanical collections, this only begins to summarize the countless efforts these “Friends” contribute through their volunteerism. With membership to the Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum at a high, the 20,000+ hours volunteered to the Arboretum annually, is without a doubt the heartbeat of the garden. Some volunteers have been serving since the garden opened in 1979.  Now even the adult children of the volunteers serve as active volunteers – a second generation who carry on the torch. Each volunteer oversees their work with expertise, skill, and more importantly passion. Through 4 decades of time and hard work the volunteers have turned the Arboretum into an educational playground, a living laboratory, and a gem within the Orange County community.

About the Fullerton Arboretum:

The mission of the Fullerton Arboretum is to provide our visitors the opportunity to gain knowledge and appreciation of the plant world through collections that preserve and promote stewardship of worldwide plant diversity and regional agricultural heritage. Serve faculty, students and the broader community through education and scholarly activities.

The Arboretum, located on 26 acres adjacent to the North border of the CSU Fullerton campus, is an important university and community resource.  The collection includes plant species that are endangered or extinct in their native habitats, and the grounds encompass a historic building, a museum, community gardens, and event spaces available for rental by the community.

The Arboretum hosts numerous educational programs for K-12 students throughout the year, including Saturday programming in the Children’s Garden, Community Outreach Education in partnership with the Archaeological arm of the Cooper Center, and Rotary-sponsored local history programs.

In addition, the Arboretum provides an outdoor classroom and research space for university Biology classes, graduate research projects, and the popular community program U-ACRE.


Please write a note of congratulations below!


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