365ink #409 May 26–June 8, 2022 - Page 19

Cover Story
mistake of double booking . So we ’ re just trying to do a clean online process for that . People will be able to go online and see if the venue and the date they want are available . They can book it , pay for it , and get all the confirmation emails and a follow up email to get a review of their experience . It will make the whole process a lot better .”
Weddings at the Arboretum are obviously a big deal . But the private events go far beyond that . Baby showers are actually very popular , as are birthday parties , reunions , graduation parties , and anniversaries . And the dates can fill up fast . There is no limit for booking into the future , but if you want to get something
planned for this summer , you will have to fit it in among all of the activity already book for the season . But Jenna notes that small , intimate weddings are popular because they can often fit those in without booking a year in advance .
As Jenna works to streamline the things that are already in place , it ’ s never too early to start developing and working toward a vision of her own for what ’ s next to make this place all it can be .
“ I would really like to see things become more accessible for everyone out here . And that ’ s been an established portion of our vision and goals as well . That ’ s already been started . Last year , we installed an all accessible walkway that starts at the Japanese Garden parking lot and goes down to that garden , the pond , and loops back around . So everyone can now come out here , whether they are wheelchair bound or have strollers , and enjoy the grounds . Otherwise they might be on grass , wood chips , or crushed rock . So I hope to continue with that goal and access more areas of the grounds . We are nonprofit , so I ’ m the one who is applying for grants and looking for donations . So with those goals established , we know what direction to steer those grant opportunities .”
“ I ’ ve also been trying to cut back on our paper usage . When I started , seven
people would get the same printout of something . Why ? So we ’ re trying to do more digital communication and scanning , trying to be more environmentally friendly , living our mission . Because we care about the trees , we don ’ t want to be wasteful with the resources that we do have .”
In an example of pulling things back and reconnecting with their mission , last week ’ s Children ’ s Spring Party didn ’ t have a theme like “ Pirates ” or “ Space ,” even though those have be very popular . Instead , they ’ re trying to re-instill their mission of trying to educate about the environments around us in nature .
“ We hope the kids want to keep coming back to the Arboretum or at least go outside and enjoy nature at a young age . So nature is our theme and will be for years to come .”
This year , they partnered with the DNR to plant trees with the kids . Dubuque County Conservation was at the Children ’ s Spring Party doing an interactive conversation with the kids , discussing pollinators , and doing fun activities to show the kids nature in action . They also had beans donated from Cornerstone Nursery and will use those beans for a germination process project . The kids take them home , watch them sprout and grow , and if they like , plant them in the ground .
“ Our goal is just getting families aware of the grounds and all of the things that we have out here to offer . Because we ’ re constantly adding things that are new . Though the Spring Party is for kids , it captures the attention of all of those parents who may not have previously even know that we ’ re here . Getting them connected to know what we have to offer in the future is important . That ’ s why we added our scavenger hunt this year , so they can see some of the key newly added features on the grounds , like the kaleidoscope we added out front .”
The Arboretum also just partnered with the Carnegie-Stout Public Library to install a Story Walk trail , where families can hike and learn about nature while enjoying pages from a big book at stops along the way . That book will transition out each month for five months of the year , so families can come back fives times for five books and also see the park in different stages of growth and blooming through the season .
For Hirtz , it ’ s events that are key for getting locals to come out and keep coming out to the gardens . Being active on social media is also a driver in letting fans and followers know what ’ s happening now , what ’ s happening next , and keep the conversations going . Older residents make
DUBUQUE365 . COM Issue # 409 May 26 – June 8 , 2022 365INK MAGAZINE 19