Funded Projects2021 Funded Project: Bartlett Arboretum

June 27, 2022

A Sunday Drive for the Soul

The Bartlett Arboretum is one of the oldest arboretums in the American Midwest, home to hundreds of species of native and exotic trees. Since its establishment in 1910, the organization has strived to educate students about Kansas’ rich horticultural history while detailing what species can survive and thrive in the area’s diverse climate. For over a century, outdoor enthusiasts, horticulturalists, and patrons of the arts have visited the Bartlett Arboretum to enjoy the Sumner County Victorian paradise, the Tree House Concerts, where regional and national bands perform on the Loblolly stage, family-friendly food truck events, and an annual Art in the Arb festival, a fan-favorite music, art, and garden exhibit.

Improving Local Quality of Life

To honor Chris’ adventurous spirit, passion for travel, and love of people, the Chris Mikesell Foundation aims to support opportunities for young people to experience nature and recently awarded a $4,000 grant to the Bartlett Arboretum. The organization’s influence is continuously growing in the region, and the Tree House Concerts have proved a unique attraction in an underserved community, attracting many community visitors. As Belle Plaine’s population continues to fall (20% over the past 25 years), the City of Belle Plaine, in partnership with the Legacy Community Foundation and the Bartlett Arboretum, has undertaken a new endeavor to create a Quiet Zone for the community at large. This year’s grant from the Chris Mikesell Foundation will further this effort to help improve the local quality of life.

  • Kendall and Sherri Mikesell have been enthusiastic patrons and visitors to the Bartlett Arboretum for many decades...

    “Kendall and Sherri Mikesell have been enthusiastic patrons and visitors to the Bartlett Arboretum for many decades, and we remain grateful for the past and present financial support offered by The Chris Mikesell Foundation. This is the kind of place that whispers his name in the leaves of the trees.”—Bartlett Arboretum

Growing Kansas’ Best-Kept Secret

The new Quiet Zone initiative will allow the Bartlett Arboretum to host more concerts and events as the current train whistle adjacent to the property will no longer sound off every five to seven minutes and will become safer due to the installation of non-traversable medians. With this significant safety improvement, the great team at Bartlett Arboretum hopes that many locals will feel encouraged to stay in Belle Plaine and raise families. The recent absence of invasive horns has already dramatically improved the serenity and peacefulness of the organization’s refuge, and with additional funding from the Chris Mikesell Foundation, they will be able to attract new devotees, increase public support, and inspire stewardship and kinship for the planet.

The Chris Mikesell Foundation is continuously happy to support such programs and looks forward to partnering with Bartlett Arboretum for many years to come, including our upcoming planned donation for 2022. To see a comprehensive history of organizations and causes the Foundation has supported, see all Funded Projects.

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