October 2018 Friends of the Arboretum Newsletter

Reminder – FOTA Membership Information

On October 10, the Arboretum transitioned to new software to manage Friends of the Arboretum memberships.  As always, the Arboretum staff and Friends of the Arboretum Advisory Board appreciate your support of the Arboretum – and now your patience during transition to the new system.
If you have not yet been to the Arboretum since October 10, here’s the rundown on what you can expect from the point-of-sale staff in the kiosk when you do visit.
  1. Be sure you have your current membership card(s) with you. Your current card will continue to be your FOTA membership card.
  2. Staff will verify that your name, mailing address, and email address exported to the new software correctly. Staff will make corrections if needed.
  3. Staff will take your photo which will link up with your membership number. Don’t worry that all individuals associated with your membership are not with you. Staff will verify their information and take their photo next time they visit the Arboretum.
  4. The beauty of this new system is that if you have memberships at other City of Overland Park facilities (such as Matt Ross Community Center or Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead), you will only need to carry one card to access all of them.
  5. If you have any questions, staff will try to answer them.
  6. You may also email Karen Kerkhoff directly at karen.kerkhoff@opkansas.org with any questions.

Chair’s Corner

The end of the year is quickly arriving.  That means end-of-the-year activities for the Friends of the Arboretum Advisory Board. We have a committee currently working on 2019 goals.  The process has been developing over the past several years, and it’s a good thing for us to do.  Rather than figuring out as we go what we’re going to do, we’ll have SMART goals written down that we can measure our progress against.  This year we have received input from Karen Kerkhoff, Arboretum Supervisor, and Greg Ruether, Director of Park Services,  as well as interested members of the community.  We will vote on these goals at our November meeting and I will publish them in the December newsletter.

We will also publish a list in December of our 2019 officers and new board members.  We like to have a mix of people who actively volunteer as well as some members from the community who haven’t been very active to give us an outside view of what they see happening.  If you are interested in serving on the board, or if you know someone you think would do a great job, please email me.  The position begins in January for two years.  Board members may serve three two-year terms.  We will have elections at our next board meeting which is always the third Monday of the month.  We meet from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Visitor’s Center at the Arboretum. We meet January through November and have a social in December to say goodbye to members who are leaving the board and hello to new members.

Anyone who is interested in what we are doing is welcome to attend our meetings and I encourage you to come sometime if you can.

See you at the Arb!

Linda Patterson

Volunteer Spotlight


Bennie ShiversOur featured volunteer this month is a wonderful representative of the Arboretum. Bennie Shivers has been volunteering since January 2017. During that time, he has helped as a train operator, become knowledgeable about the Whirlwind exhibit, is one of our regular Thursday morning Greeters, and routinely is a tour guide. He consistently volunteers at Stems, Brewfest and Luminary and has been known to work long hours – starting at 8:00 a.m. loading the refrigerator trucks at the Doubletree and wrapping up around 11:30 p.m. as an “area point” volunteer.
Bennie has been retired for almost 10 years. He worked as a procurement manager during his years of employment. He is originally from North Carolina but has been in the Kansas City area for quite a while. When asked about what he enjoys most about volunteering at the Arboretum, he says, “I like meeting new people. The staff is terrific, and I have a great time while I’m out there.”
When he’s not volunteering at the Arboretum, he enjoys spending time with his children and family. Bennie is a hard worker with a laid-back attitude. His fellow volunteer Libby Irving describes him as a “darn nice guy with a wonderful sense of humor.” He is a pleasure to be around, and we are extremely fortunate to have him volunteer his time at the Arboretum. Thank you, Bennie, for all you do to make us a better place.