Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of The Friends 2021 Vol. 1 | Page 10

Photos courtesy of Roberto Mighty .

Tributes to Dave Barnett

hree of my favorite trees ? That ’ s a tough one .” Dave Barnett knit

“ T his brows , a pensive look on his face . For my new public television series , “ World ’ s Greatest Cemeteries ,” I ’ d asked him to think of just

three trees ( out of the five thousand at Mount Auburn ) that would represent important ideas about form , function , symbolism , and beauty .
Dave is a busy executive who runs an organization with scores of employees , 175 acres , and never-ending responsibilities for planning , operations , and community relations — to name a few . But his “ roots ” are as an Arborist . And this man loves trees !
A few days later , the TV crew and I met Dave at Asa Gray Garden , where he discussed his first choice : an Acer palmatum ( Japanese Maple ) for its “ architecture , branching structure ” and changing seasonal colors . Then on to Auburn Lake to view the “ enormous , spectacular ” Metasequoia glyptostroboides ( Dawn Redwood ). Finally , we strolled down Chestnut Avenue , where Dave , with boyish enthusiasm and scholarly erudition , waxed enthusiastically about a Quercus alba ( White Oak ), which for him symbolizes “ strength , endurance , and longevity .”
These qualities are fitting not only for Mount Auburn Cemetery but also for Dave Barnett himself : a great executive , a tree expert , and a nice guy who makes everyone feel welcome .
— Roberto Mighty Mount Auburn Council of Visitors
Liz Vizza and Bill Clendaniel in 2019 . n the early 1990s , Bill Clendaniel , Janet Heywood , and I were at Planting Fields


Arboretum in New York to attend the AABGA ( American Association of Botanic
Gardens and Arboreta , predecessor to the APGA ) Conference . Arboretum Assistant Director Dave Barnett was hosting the conference , and Bill and I were presenting our work on the Mount Auburn Master Plan . From the time we first met and spoke with him , Dave made a great impression on us . The Master Plan team had advised that Mount Auburn needed a Head of Horticulture , and Dave seemed like a perfect candidate . Happily for the Cemetery and us all , Bill hired him to take on the job of Director of Horticulture in 1993 .
In all my years of working with institutions and public agencies on preserving and developing cultural landscapes throughout the Boston metropolitan area and beyond , Dave stands out . Whenever he spoke about projects and plans for the Cemetery , he would quote from the Master Plan . It didn ’ t just sit on his shelf . As recently as a year ago , during the latest strategic planning effort of the Cemetery , the Master Plan document was on his desk , close at hand . It has stood the test of time not just because of what was in it but because of Dave ’ s commitment to honoring the principles that Mount Auburn was founded on and how they were manifested in the landscape to comfort and inspire . He has always shown a passion for the many levels of meaning of the Cemetery ’ s landscape , from its historic design to its world-class collection of trees to the ecological dynamics of the land .
Mount Auburn , and all of us who love it , have been so fortunate to have benefited from Dave ’ s intelligence , enthusiasm , and dedication all these years . He has set a high standard that will be an inspiration for those who come after him , and he will be missed .
— Liz Vizza President , Friends of the Public Garden