AIGAJAX Gives Back: Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens

It was hot! It was steamy! And the enemy was sneaky! But that did not deter 20 AIGA Jacksonville members (and some nonmembers) from rolling out of bed on a Saturday morning, rolling up their sleeves and jeans, pulling on their gardening gloves and attacking—weeds and invasive plant species.

Heeding the call of no less than the President of the United States, these great patriots left their Macs and sketchbooks waiting at home and joined the “United We Serve” initiative, a summer of community involvement that will culminate in a National Day of Service and Remembrance on 9-11-2009.

Yes, they toiled outside in the daylight in direct sun and did not melt! This volunteer army joined the people of HandsOn Jacksonville on the battlefield of the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens. And there, in spite of attacks by buzzing hordes (ok, a few little pesky) mosquitoes, they worked hard to maintain the trails, pulling weeds, destroying invasive plants and helping preserve one small part of America: the 120 acres of natural preserve right here in Jacksonville.

They were fortunate enough to have Meg and Chris from the Arboretum to guide them and provide them with a full background on the incredible native flora and fauna. You don’t want to destroy the natives while attempting to wipe out the enemy! The woods and lakes are beautiful and most of the brave and fun-filled volunteers did not even know this beautiful place existed so nearby.

These great Americans left the Arboretum feeling fulfilled and grateful for the opportunity to serve (and looking for some campho-phenique; ok, that’s just me). But on a more serious note, this event gave us a chance to give back to our community. We had an excellent turnout of about 20 people and hope to continue doing more outreach projects in the future. Please watch out for more information about future events! If you have any questions or suggestions for outreach initiatives, please contact Karen Kurycki at

To see more pics from Saturday, go to:

By aigajacksonville
Published August 28, 2009