Thanks to the generosity of Toby and Betsy Wesson, the area around the historic European Beech tree, more affectionately known as the Elephant Tree, has been transformed into an outdoor children’s classroom. This Beech tree has become the symbol for all of the Arboretum’s children’s education programs.
The design and rehabilitation of the area were provided by Cording Landscape Design of Towaco, New Jersey. Seating for storytelling and picnic tables was created out of natural stone. The area was replanted and paths were created to connect the nature grove to the fish pond which is highlighted by a whimsical hummingbird sculpture, designed by noted artist Adrienne Yorinks and fabricated by Dan Kalb. Lighting for the area was donated by Carney Electric of Summit. A viewing scope, installed at the edge of the pond, allows children and adults to observe the many birds and butterflies that spend the summer in the wildlife habitat. Other funding for the project was received from Elissa and Michael O’Rourke for the sculpture and the NJ Committee of the Garden Club of America for plant material. L’Oreal USA provided volunteer teams that did much of the labor.
Enjoy this very special addition to the Arboretum landscape!