Most folks volunteer to give back and spend their time doing things they’re passionate about. But volunteers also experience a great sense of community when working with others who share their ideals.
One way to expand this “community of volunteers” is to swap volunteers for a day with another, like-minded organization, which is exactly what we did earlier this spring!
In early May, six volunteers from Stoneleigh: a natural garden arrived at Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill, PA, for the first leg of the exchange. They worked alongside more than a dozen Morris Arboretum volunteers and staffers weeding and mulching beds in the Oak Allee for most of the morning, then ate lunch together.
After lunch, the group was given a private tour by Lucy Dinsmore, Morris Arboretum’s Azalea Meadow Horticulturist. Along the way, they met other staff members to learn about exciting renovations planned for the Pennock Garden and to tour the native azaleas in bloom. Said Stoneleigh staff member Sam Nestory, who coordinated the volunteer exchange, “We spent quite a bit of time at Morris… longer than expected, since it was such a wonderful day and we were all having so much fun!”
About a month later, 16 Morris Arboretum regular volunteers came to Stoneleigh for the second phase of the volunteer swap where they worked with Stoneleigh staff and volunteers on a massive planting project at the Main House.
Said Sam, “We planted thousands of plants, including trees, shrubs, and perennials in existing and new beds at the front of the Main House.” After a joint lunch, Sam led everyone on a tour of Stoneleigh.
“I was so proud of how this event went, and I think it was a hit with both groups of volunteers,” Sam Nestory shared. “I hope to continue this program with Morris Arboretum and expand it to other local public gardens. It’s a great way to build the garden volunteer community in our area!”