Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blog Guelph: The Woods Are In Me

I'd know that silhouette anywhere! by Chris Earley by The Arboretum

What right do I have to be in the woods, if the woods are not in me?
~John Cage

We talk about Guelph a lot. About what it means to live here. What it looks like. What it feels like. 

We talk about our uniqueness, our connection with the land, our bohemian culture, our art, our history, our environment, and our water. We talk about progress and future and development and innovation.

But we can’t talk about Guelph without talking about its people. The people that make this town not just a place - but who make it a family, a community, and a home.

Often, we are so busy in our lives that we don’t take the time to recognize the outstanding leadership of some of Guelph’s most committed advocates. I’d like to take this opportunity today to dedicate this Blog thread to the inspiring Alan Watson who many of you may know, announced his retirement from a twenty-year tenure as the Director of the Arboretum at the University of Guelph.

The Arboretum.  

Over 400 acres of land lies at the heart of our city. Land that has been granted protection from development. Land that is cultivated for education and research. Personally, I can’t think of Guelph without thinking about the Arboretum – it is one of the most special places to me. It is a healing place. A place that constantly reminds me to honour our world, to live with compassion, to love with grace. Out in the wildwood air, on the turn of trails, by the rocks of the reflecting pool, on the path of roses, in the heat of a solitary field, or in golden angles of a setting or rising sun. It is truly a place where I find myself once again. 

Nature is something as much a part of us as we are it.

And it’s hard to estimate the worth of something so large, something so rich and vital - as the Arboretum in Guelph. 


Alan Watson likes to call it the “Ourboretum” – a fitting testament to our responsibilities as citizens to help continue the legacy of this site. For twenty years, Alan has advocated, educated, and lead this organization to be what it is today – a powerful site of discovery and community. Among his many roles, Alan is a faculty member in the Department of Environmental Biology and is currently managing the Ontario Tree Atlas Project and Elm Recovery Project based at The Arboretum. He is also very actively involved in sustainable tourism issues globally and locally he helped found the Guelph Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

And although his involvements and advocacy extends well beyond the borders of Guelph, it is within these borders that we know him best.

He is truly someone we can say has a right to be in the woods.

For the woods are in him.

~ Aidan M.D. Ware

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For more great Guelph photos, try these links:

Downtown Guelph, University of Guelph, The Guelph Hillside Festival or The Guelph Lake Conservation Area.

On the other hand, you may be curious about what the City of Guelph looked like last October or maybe Spring.

Indeed you may be the type that would love to wade through our deep and refreshing archives. There are over 5,000 terrific Guelph photos, taken by a growing tribe of fantastic photographers, currently available for your viewing pleasure. Check out the Blog Guelph archives located 'back up there' and appropriately titled: Blog Guelph Archives.