Invitations are in the mail for Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum’s Festival of Friends 15th Anniversary celebration at the Knippenberg Center for Education at Laurelwood Arboretum, 725 Pines Lake Road West in Wayne. The event, which is scheduled for Saturday, September 15 from 5 pm to 7:30 pm, will include the dedication of a Founders’ Garden to honor the eight people who established the Friends organization. Tickets to the Festival are $60 per person and can be ordered online at the Arboretum website. For additional information, please call 973-831-5675.
The Festival will feature an exhibit of paintings and photographs by local artists and photographers and will include paintings by Laurelwood’s benefactor, Dorothy Knippenberg (nee Moore). She was a graduate of the Pratt Institute in New York and an accomplished artist. For refreshments, there will be hors d’oeuvres by Viaggio Ristorante of Wayne accompanied by wine, beer and nonalcoholic beverages. Jazz pianist Gary Mancinelli will entertain on the piano. A highlight of the event is a Silent Auction of carefully selected items. The Festival of Friends is sponsored by Lakeland Bank.
Wayne residents Dorothy and John Knippenberg donated the property that is now Laurelwood Arboretum to the Township of Wayne. Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum was created by a group of Dorothy’s friends who wanted to ensure that the arboretum would be preserved as a natural oasis as it transitioned to a public park. In 2003, Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. When Dorothy died in 2006, the organization assumed responsibility for management of the arboretum, in accordance with an agreement with Wayne Township.
Today, Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve, promote and improve the arboretum and provide opportunities for horticultural appreciation and education through public programs and outreach activities. Membership has grown to more than 450, with 200-plus volunteers working to support the organization and maintain the park. Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum is funded by membership dues, plant sales and donations from individuals and businesses.