In 1994 an agreement was signed with the city of Middletown and the state of Connecticut “to preserve, maintain, and develop the Arboretum as an historical, recreational, and educational natural resource.” The agreement officially recognized the arboretum as the “Wadsworth/Kerste deBoer Arboretum.” Kerste deBoer, a Middletown resident who lived nearby, passionately defended the preservation of the arboretum when the city of Middletown planned a roadway improvement that would have decimated this important collection of trees. As the plaque reads “She spoke for the trees.”
Kerste deBoer was my mother. She died in 1989 when I was 13 years old.
Last August the park lost about 25 of its 200 trees to the winds and rain of Hurricane Irene. It will be decades before the century-old Wadsworth/Kerste deBoer Arboretum will be whole again. The plaque was cracked and has been removed. The Arboretum was hit again by an early snowstorm October 29. The combined damage is estimated at $128,400.
These trees are not a high priority to the city or the state. But they matter. I speak for the trees.