Author Archives: Barbara Dundon

Paul Meyer: World leader in plant exploration

When Paul Meyer, Director of the Morris Arboretum, received the Arthur Hoyt Scott medal in 2018, Chanticleer’s Executive Director Bill Thomas described Paul as a “world leader in plant exploration.”

Turns out, helping to establish the North America-China Plant Exploration Consortium, or NACPEC, is a legacy about which he is most proud.

I interviewed Paul on the eve of his retirement from the Arboretum after 42 years. He described what he sees as the impact of this world-wide coalition.

 

Small designers working for small business

Fresh Artists is an innovative nonprofit that empowers young people as philanthropists — capable of transforming their schools by helping to fill empty art room shelves with luscious art supplies — all through their selfless generosity.

Step into the Fresh Artists’ studio to see how kids as young as 9 are using their gifts as designers to create new products for an award-winning toy company: Stick-lets.

 

 

Am I Called?

When the chair of the Commission on Ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania saw my illustrated video about the experience of hip replacement surgery, she dashed off an email: “Can you do this for us?!” Turns out she wanted to describe the Diocese’s process for ordaining priests and deacons in a playful, approachable way. My answer was, of course, “Gosh ‘n gollies, you betcha!”

This short illustrated video uses the image of a sheep to introduce would-be postulants to the process of discernment used when people are wondering if they are called to ordained ministry.

“You could be on Oprah!”

Kinda scary to air one’s family stories in public. But we all have ‘em. I figure why not share and learn from each other? This one’s about mothers and daughters, or, more precisely my mother and me. I won’t be surprised if you find it resonates for you.

Glenwood Green Acres: An urban oasis

Darlene Marcus and Viery Thomas are the spirit and engine behind Glenwood Green Acres– a 3.5-acre community garden that sits on land formerly occupied by an abandoned cement factory, close to SEPTA’s North Philadelphia train station.
The garden bears the distinction of being the largest community garden in the the city of Philadelphia. It is also a site for City Garden, a program run through PHS and the Neighborhood Gardens Trust.

To learn about Glenwood Green Acres and its history, I went on a tour one warm spring morning, with Darlene and Vie stopping every few feet to pluck weeds along the way.

Blaine Bonham talks about Ernesta Ballard

Hard to imagine that Blaine Bonham, former head of Philadelphia Green, began his career as a portfolio analyst in the banking business. “I was probably the only young person there that was wearing platform shoes and wild Keon shirts to work,” he recalls. “I just knew that something was not right about this match.”

Under his direction Philadelphia Green grew from a small, grassroots initiative to the most comprehensive urban greening program in the nation. A natural storyteller, Blaine remembers his introduction to former PHS President Ernesta Ballard.

Jane Pepper: “I was lucky.”

Anyone who knows anything about Pennsylvania Horticultural Society knows Jane Pepper, who raised the stature of the Philadelphia Flower Show internationally and supported the expansion of the Philadelphia Green program into a national model for urban revitalization.
Jane talked with me about her arrival at PHS in 1976 as a volunteer for the Flower Show and the role Ernesta Ballard played in encouraging her to eventually succeed her as President. She led the organization for almost three decades and retired in 2010.
If you listen closely, you may hear evidence of her Scottish heritage.