Gabis Arboretum at Purdue Northwest- A natural choice for volunteer opportunities

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News

Published on May 22, 2019 with No Comments


Linda Bol teaching children at Gabis Arboretum

After attending a concert at Gabis Arboretum at Purdue Northwest in 2008, Craig Meinbresse decided to put his love for the arboretum into action. He became a volunteer.

“Volunteering at Gabis Arboretum has provided me with the opportunity to revisit what I really want to do,” said Meinbresse. “Giving back to the community, preserving green space and working with trees has been wonderful.”

He isn’t alone. Linda Bol and her husband, Larry, have enjoyed volunteering at Gabis Arboretum since their first day back in 2012.

“I saw an article in the newspaper about volunteer opportunities at the arboretum and knew it was a perfect fit,” said Bol. “It really feels like I am contributing and it makes me feel worthwhile. I have learned so much more about nature, which has given me a greater appreciation for it.”

Both Meinbresse and Bol love being outdoors, but each found unexpected opportunities to teach children about nature. Bol explained, “Some children don’t know a lot about nature and what I teach gives them an appreciation of the outdoors.”

Visitor Services and Volunteer Coordinator Barb Raschke said, “Gabis Arboretum could not survive without the generosity of volunteer time, knowledge, and monetary gifts. We do not have many employees and the volunteers are tremendous. Their hard work, knowledge and input make them invaluable. Many of our volunteers have been here since the Gabis family started the arboretum.”

The Bol’s volunteer at arboretum concerts, conduct golf cart tours, and lead educational programs for children and adults. Meinbresse spent his first year at the arboretum planting, weeding, and leading educational programs. Since 2010, he has worked primarily in the Railway Garden running, repairing and repainting the G-gauge trains.

For their contribution, volunteers receive an annual individual membership to the arboretum after 30 hours of service. In addition, the arboretum holds two annual volunteer appreciation events.

Volunteers opportunities are available every year for all ages; from care and maintenance of the Railway Garden and the gardens, to office support and assisting with events or other activities.

“I do not have a science or nature background and I did not feel that I had the confidence to do this. However, once you get out there it is fun. If I can do it, anyone can do it,” said Bol.

To volunteer at the Gabis Arboretum, visit https://www.pnw.edu/gabis-arboretum/join-us/ or contact Barb Raschke at 219-462-0025 or braschke@pnw.edu.

About Gabis Arboretum at Purdue Northwest:

Gabis Arboretum at Purdue Northwest is a 300-acre, oak preserve of formal gardens, woodlands, wetlands, prairies and hiking trails located near Valparaiso, Indiana. Open year round, the Arboretum offers a wide variety of events and classes for all ages. Officially becoming part of Purdue University Northwest in 2018, Gabis Arboretum at Purdue Northwest provides an enriching, natural habitat for public, educational, conservation and recreational use.

About Purdue University Northwest:

Purdue University Northwest (PNW) is a student-centered university that values academic excellence, supports growth and celebrates diversity. Located in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago, PNW fosters a vibrant academic community through high quality and engaging undergraduate and graduate education. For more information about PNW, visit www.pnw.edu.


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