Rolling with the reopening punches: The Arboretum at Flagstaff embraces change as it opens on limited basis

Rolling with the reopening punches: The Arboretum at Flagstaff embraces change as it opens on limited basis

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A recent press release from the Arboretum at Flagstaff began, rather poetically, with a quote by Mary Shelley.

“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change,” it stated.

“I fully agree with Mary Shelley, and during this period of COVID-19 pandemic, all of us here at The Arboretum at Flagstaff have experienced the pain of change,” Kristin Haskins, executive director of the arboretum, wrote. “However, to employ another quote by Alan Wilson Watts, ‘The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.’ So, that is what all of us here at The Arb are planning to do, beginning with a revised 2020 schedule of events.”

The Arb, which was among the Flagstaff Arts Council’s first round of COVID-19 Nonprofit Relief Fund grant recipients, will begin with a partial opening to the public on May 16. The opening will allow visitors to bring leashed dogs, and walk trails and gardens as well as view the outdoor exhibits. Indoor buildings will remain closed, including the visitor center, horticultural center, research greenhouse and public restrooms. Guidelines for visiting The Arb will be posted on site for visitors.

“I have reviewed research on protocols for proper hygiene and resource needs to make those protocols possible, pandemic status and scientific model predictions, and perhaps most importantly audience readiness to once again participate in large group events,” Haskins wrote.

Based on that, Haskins also stated that she made the decision to cancel some of the organization’s larger events, while re-designing others.

Social distancing and limited audience events including wildflower walks, bird walks, Yoga at the Arb and a curb-side pick-up annual Plant Sale are all things to look forward to for the coming season. Details, including dates and times for the events, will be announced on The Arboretum at Flagstaff’s website as details are confirmed.

The retrofitting of visitation and events also has some silver linings, including innovative do-it-yourself Arboretum initiatives like self-guide materials, lessons for young learners and photo and video contests, with details on each available on The Arboretum at Flagstaff website.

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