EDINBORO – Goodell Gardens & Homestead staff, board, volunteers, members, and donors were joined by friends of Barbara J. Loucks on Saturday, Oct. 26 as they dedicated the newly-installed Loucks Donor Legacy Tree.
The tree, which allows donors to leave their lasting legacy at the Edinboro public garden and arboretum is named for longtime member, volunteer, donor, and friend of Goodell Gardens, Barbara J. Thompson Loucks, or “Miss Barb,” as most folks knew her. Loucks, who passed away February 27, 2017, left her estate to Edinboro-area nonprofit organizations, including nearly $55,000 to Goodell Gardens & Homestead.
The tree, which is a handmade, custom piece commissioned from artist Greg Gehner of Transit Forge in Cambridge Springs, was installed in late April, and the Gardens has been placing leaves engraved with the names of and messages from donors throughout the summer season. Made from COR-TEN Steel, a special type of metal designed to grow stronger as it rusts, the Loucks Donor Legacy Tree sits between the two barns at Goodell Gardens, just off the main path, and is adorned with leaves in three types of metals: stainless steel, copper, and brass – each depicting a level of giving: $250, $500, and $1,000, respectively.
“Our good friend Miss Barb’s generosity was so amazing, and her story shows that you can make a huge impact without being a millionaire. Barb spent her career in housekeeping at Edinboro University, but her estate left an amazing gift to many local nonprofits,” Goodell Gardens Executive Director Amber Wellington said. “A small portion of her gift to Goodell Gardens allowed us to plant the seed for future giving and gives us a place to recognize the generosity of our donors.”
Loucks was a charter member of Goodell Gardens, she was the first person to rent the Events Barn at Goodell Gardens, and she volunteered her time to hang posters for the Gardens’ events.
“Miss Barb was a wonderful ambassador for our organization,” Wellington said. “I’m honored to call her my friend. Her generosity both in life and through her estate helped make our community a wonderful place. We owe a lot of gratitude to Barb.”
While some leaves are already affixed to the tree, there is plenty of room to add more. Many existing leaves bear the names of donors, while others are in honor or in memory of people special to those donors. More information, including a way to leaf your legacy, can be found on the Goodell Gardens website at www.goodellgardens.org/louckslegacytree .
Goodell Gardens & Homestead is a public garden, accredited arboretum, and community events space located on the former Goodell family farm in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. Goodell Gardens encourages public understanding of plants, their relationship to humanity, and the heritage of the Goodell family through educational and cultural programming, interpretation, and adaptive re-use of the Goodell artifacts, homestead, and estate. For more information, visit www.goodellgardens.org .