Growing up in a gardening family, Judy Sosbee decided to volunteer at the Dallas Arboretum, along with her husband, Greg, during 2020. The Sosbees, who also like to work in their own garden, love indulging their gardening passion at the Arboretum, especially by working with visitors to the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. This fall, they are also co-chairing Autumn at the Arboretum, which runs September 18 to October 31, 2021.
Judy said, “Growing up, we had a backyard greenhouse with orchids, bromeliads and ferns. However, it was Greg who suggested we ‘sign up’ after I told him that the Dallas Arboretum was looking for volunteers for their Holiday Village last year. We enjoyed it so much, we decided volunteering year-round was a great idea.” Since they started volunteering in November 2020, they have clocked more than 600 hours in less than a year.
The Sosbees grew up in Garland, close to the Dallas Arboretum, and met their senior year of high school. Both attended the University of North Texas. After graduation, Judy worked as a kindergarten teacher in Garland ISD for 34 years. Greg worked in risk management, a job that took him around the globe. During their 50-year marriage, their family has grown to include a son, daughter, their spouses and three grandsons—all of whom live in the Dallas area.
At the Dallas Arboretum, they found their special volunteer area at the Children’s Adventure Garden Information Booth. When tram training became available, Greg took advantage of it and now drives a tram talking to the many visitors from around the globe. Judy said, “As a former kindergarten teacher, I enjoy being in the Exploration Center and working with kids firsthand. We also continue to volunteer together at the children’s information booth on busy weekends, and enjoy conducting volunteer training for the Children’s Garden. We are weekly volunteers who seem to always find an additional day to volunteer when help is needed.”
Judy even remarked that she loves when someone recognizes her and says to her, “You were my child’s kindergarten teacher!” “It makes me happy to get an update on a former student.” Greg has become reacquainted with a former co-worker who also volunteers in the garden.
Greg added, “With the beautiful fall days we have in Dallas, we have a wonderful time enjoying the fresh air and all the miraculous floral and pumpkin displays. Seeing the delight in guests’ faces and enjoying the time spent with other volunteers is a rewarding experience.”
For those interested in volunteering, visit https://www.dallasarboretum.org/support/volunteer/, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214-515-6561. For the latest Autumn at the Arboretum events and activities, visit dallasarboretum.org or the social media channels.
About Autumn at the Arboretum:
Autumn at the Arboretum, presented by Reliant, runs from September 18 to October 30 with a “Bugtopia” theme. The 16th annual fall festival features the nationally acclaimed Pumpkin Village with 20-foot-tall, decorated pumpkin houses created with more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash from the West Texas town of Floydada, which is nicknamed “the pumpkin capital of Texas.”
Autumn at the Arboretum comes alive with larger-than-life insect topiaries, fascinatingly bugged-out pumpkin houses, a maze for younger visitors and even an 18-foot-long dragonfly. Autumn at the Arboretum features breathtaking colors of fall with 150,000 fall flowers—marigolds, chrysanthemums and more throughout the 66-acre garden.
A few highlights:
- Local popular bands play live music every weekend afternoon during the festival.
- Seasonal daily samples highlight in-season plants in A Tasteful Place garden.
- Insect Encounters tent features daily, hands-on experiences such as live insect demonstrations, nature art, expert chats and more.
- Mommy and Me Mondays and Tiny Tot Tuesdays, presented by Kimberly-Clark, includes face painting, stroller fitness, a petting zoo, Kindermusik, a hay bale maze, a pumpkin patch with pumpkins for purchase and music.
- On Family Fun Weekend, Oct. 9-10, and on Halloweekend, Oct. 30-31, the festival also includes a petting zoo and face painting for children.
- Arboretum-led walking tours, harvesting and horticulture demonstrations round out the festival.
Guests can also visit A Tasteful Place, a 3.5-acre food, herb and vegetable garden. Weekly activities include free Monday cooking demonstrations with Dallas College Cooks along with activities throughout the week including cooking, floral and horticulture demonstrations, many of which have the “bugtopia” theme incorporated.
In addition to Reliant as the presenting sponsor, other sponsors include Park Place Dealerships, Texas Instruments, Oncor, Kimberly-Clark, C.C. Young Senior Living, Doyle and Associates, Sidley Austin, Bank of Texas and Rexel USA.