A cocktail party and presentation looking ahead at the possibilities for the Jacksonville Arboretum and Botanical Gardens concluded with a major announcement on its expansion.

“We have another big announcement to make, and hang on to your hats because it’s a doozy,” Arboretum Executive Director Dana Doody said at the event held at WJCT. “If you’ve been following the Arboretum, you know that we are striving to become a botanical garden, in line with the vision that Mary Pat (Matheson) is bridging to life in Atlanta (at the Atlanta Botanical Garden).”

Matheson, President and CEO of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, spoke to Arboretum supporters at the event, detailing the expansion and new directions taken in making the Atlanta Botanical Garden a jewel and urban oasis for the Georgia capital. As the Atlanta garden worked to bring in children and families, the Arboretum is planning a new section devoted to kids.

“We here at the Jacksonville Arboretum and Botanical Gardens are thrilled to announce that we’ve received a challenge grant from the Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund for $50,000,” Doody said.

“That means if we raise $50,000, Mrs. Weaver’s foundation will match it dollar-to-dollar, giving us $100,000. This gift, once earned on our part, will (provide the money) needed to start our children’s garden.”

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