In the hubbub leading up the opening of 100 Acres, no one had a chance to blog about a special event which took place in the Park on June 9. Now that we have all had a second to catch our breath, I want to share the IMA’s involvement in the Plant a Wish project and the (100 Acres) location of Indiana’s Wish Tree.
Sara Tekula and Joe Imhoff, residents of Hawaii, started Plant a Wish with the planting of a native species of tree at their wedding, imbued with their guests well-wishes. Over time, they realized that this ‘Wish Tree’ continued to hold special meaning for them. They decided to embark on a journey to plant a native Wish Tree in the remaining 49 states with this wish:
The overall wish of the Plant A Wish project is for future generations to enjoy an abundance of biodiversity, native plants and trees, fresh air, and clean water.
They are also filming their journey, to be made into what I’m sure will be a moving documentary. I can’t wait to see how it comes out and what kinds of adventures they get themselves in to! They said every planting has had a different flavor, from small, single family plantings to huge affairs involving whole towns.
They selected the IMA, and 100 Acres in particular, because of the work that is being done in the Park already to fight invasive non-native plant species while planting local varieties, installing works of art, and educating our local communities. Our Horticulture Manager Chad Franer selected the appropriate native tree (an American Beech) and planting location (with enough distance from the beavers!)
We had a small ceremony for the planting, and the MAP Kids and some education staff joined us and contributed their wishes: some sentimental, some funny, some deeply moving. I also collected wishes from some of our fans on FaceBook and Twitter. They are all nourishing the roots of our American Beech as I type.
I thought for a while what I wanted to wish for…. what did I want to think of when I walked by this tree? The more I thought about it, I knew I could never untangle my memories of the thrill of my involvement in the opening the Park with the Wish Tree. So, my wish was simple: for Indianapolis to love 100 Acres as much as I have come to. Less than a month later and after a wildly successful opening, I would feel comfortable saying this has already come true.
Next, we placed our wishes under the tree, and rolled it in to place. We each helped to cover the root ball with some dirt. With Joe’s instruction, we also had to help ‘wake up’ the tree. Each of us took hold of the tree and we yelled together on the count of 3. Surprisingly, no one came running. This must be a horticulture secret and probably why I’ve killed all the plants I have ever interred. I’ll try it at home soon- I’m sure my neighbors will love it!
The Indiana Wish Tree is located here, along the path to Kendall Buster’s Stratum Pier, ready for your wishes as well. I hope that it will be big enough in a few years for having a picnic under. I want to thank Sara and Joe for their dedication to a thoughtful and important cause, and for selecting the IMA to be a part of it. If you would like to help them reach their goal of all 50 states, you can donate to their project or suggest a planting site.
Images courtesy of Sara Tekula. See more here.