“The Arboretum is like drinking beer, you can’t enjoy each bubble, you need to toss the whole thing down,” remarks longtime Arnold Arboretum member Carl Scovel. While immense beauty may be found in the minute details of the Arnold Arboretum landscape—the serrated edge of the cherry tree leaf, an insect drinking water on a rose petal—Carl most admires the incredible diversity and density of the scenery, an ambiance that is best appreciated in its entirety.

Carl has ventured across the wooded trails and winding paths of the Arboretum for decades— sometimes in peaceful solitude, other times accompanied by his family—enjoying fresh air and fresh perspectives on his life and the natural world. He enjoys rotating through his favorite routes in the landscape spontaneously, relishing the time when he can set his thoughts down and focus on really looking at his surroundings—the children playing, the bicycles whizzing by, the beeches and maples brushing the sky. “It’s an enormous way of lifting my spirits,” Carl explains.

Now in his 90s, he reflects on how much time he has spent in the landscape, amassing too many memories to count. He recognizes how much the Arboretum has changed his life for the better, and how much he has “taken” from his experience of the landscape in all seasons. Describing these walks as both physical therapy and psychiatry, he credits them with improving his overall health and well being.

Back at home, Carl feels grateful for the knowledge he’s gained from reading Arnoldia as a benefit of membership. He saves his favorite articles, noting that “they have become part of my education and re-education. When I was housebound with cancer, the magazine was a great reminder of what was waiting for me in the landscape when I got better.” An eager and lifelong learner, Carl giddily mentions his favorite tree, the dawn redwood, which he describes as “too neat to be true.”

As a frequent visitor and Arboretum admirer, Carl felt no hesitation in giving back to an institution that has benefited him in such significant ways and has given him great joy and satisfaction. “In my family, you always pay back what is given to you,” Carl says. When he walks in the landscape, he feels good knowing that his support helps keep the Arboretum safe, beautiful, and free to all. “To come here regularly and not contribute would feel like cheating,” Carl says spiritedly. “Giving to this place made me enjoy it so much more because when you give to something, you belong to it.” If you too would like to take an active role in our mission, please consider becoming a member today. To learn more and join our community of supporters, please visit our membership page.