Pine Hollow Arboretum: Environmental Education in the Capital District

Arboreta are a unique component of the urban forest, a place where we can see the breadth of beautiful trees and shrubs suited to our climate. They also make excellent outdoor environmental education labs.

For the 7th year, NYSUFC organizational member The Pine Hollow Arboretum in Slingerlands (a suburb of Albany), is providing an opportunity for area students to connect with nature in a meaningful way. The goals of the program are to increase overall environmental literacy and stewardship, to foster an appreciation for biodiversity, and to provide a venue for collaboration across socioeconomic and cultural barriers serving as a step towards community connectivity in the Capital District. 

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Getting to Know Council Founder Nancy Wolf

Nancy Wolf in her garden with grandson Noah John, 8 1/2, and granddaughter Veronica, 4 1/2.
Nancy Wolf in her garden with grandson Noah John, 8 1/2, and granddaughter Veronica, 4 1/2. Photo by Ellen Wolf

Can you tell us about your childhood influences that foreshadowed getting interested in arboriculture, urban forestry, and environmental education? Nancy Wolf: I grew up in a small southern Appalachian town in the Clinch River Valley of Virginia that was surrounded by farms. Everyone had gardens, my father kept chickens and my grandmother had a Jersey cow, which produced the best milk and butter in the world. I loved tree climbing and my first experience in “knowing” a tree was while perched in the major crotch of a big maple, surrounded by branches, leaves and breezes.

In my small high school, we were fortunate to have a well-educated science teacher who had just returned from World War II. Mr. Couch, in better days, would probably have gone on to graduate school and become a college teacher. The botany part of his biology class was “it” in terms of my entry into what I later understood was horticulture and arboriculture. His field trips and hands-on activities with plants brought to class were environmental education long before the term was introduced.

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