Many of Tyler’s members and visitors enjoy their experience at Tyler so much, that they share their stories of impact with us. Read below for examples of how Tyler impacts lives. Consider giving to the Tyler Arboretum Annual Fund to help continue these success stories.
The Gift of Impact: One Man’s Journey
“With all of the places that I’ve been in this world, there is something more profound at Tyler, at my second home, in my woods.”
My name is Matt Delaney, and the Tyler Arboretum has played an integral role in my life in so many ways that I doubt I’ll be able to accurately express them in words. My very first tangible memories in this life were scenes of nature riding in a hiking carrier backpack as my parents walked through Tyler. The wild fields, the lush untamed canopies in the deep forest, the streams and ponds, the ruins, pink hill, the amazing specimen trees, the wonderful changing smells of nature throughout the seasons…these are the earliest senses that I can recollect, and I believe that influence has brought wonderful benefits throughout my life.
Growing up in Malvern, my parents and I frequented Tyler and Ridley Creek throughout my formative years. We would regularly pack picnic lunches, and enjoy them in the fields or the forest. Our favorite place to gather was among the boulders of Rocky Run. We would spend endless hours wandering the many paths, trying to find new ways to get lost, yet always finding our way back to the car before the sun would set. My father took it upon himself to be a ‘protector of the trees’, and used to carry his Guatemalan
machete on his hip to cut any vines that we spotted. I can still recall drinking the fresh water that gushed out of the larger ones. We would stop to count the rings in some of the larger trees that fell in windstorms, and had to be cut to clear the trails. Our trips to the woods usually ended with a stop at the public springs on Barren Road to stock up on fresh water for the week. After my sister was born, I got to see the same wonder in her eyes that I had come to take for granted in my own. She rode in the same backpack that I once had, then eventually chose her own walking stick, just like the rest of us. I still have mine after all these years. I came to feel a deep connection to the nature all around me; the outdoors became my second home.
At some point as we got older, the family trips to the Arboretum dwindled. We took fewer nature trips, most of them to far away places. We would disappear on the Appalachian trail for a long weekend with family friends, or hike the coast of Acadia National Park in Maine. I spent more time in the woods behind my home with my friends. My ties and undying love for nature remained, but for whatever reason, we rarely visited Tyler anymore.
Then in high school, when I received the freedom that comes with one’s first vehicle, I re-visited the Arboretum and Ridley; sometimes alone, sometimes with my friends. The old familiar paths came back, the smells of the fields in spring, wonderful memories of youth. I shared the beauty that I had discovered at Tyler with everyone I knew. How could anyone not know the Cedar of Lebanon? That tree holds more magic than anyone knows. My connection with my second home was renewed, and I came to it regularly for inspiration, or escape.
My father became sick with cancer towards the end of high school, and we started coming back to Tyler together for exercise and escape from the treatments he was receiving. In an attempt to become healthier, we traveled all over Pennsylvania to hike. Worlds End, Ricketts Glen, Resica Falls, more miles of the Appalachian Trail… we hiked everywhere we could, but nowhere more than Tyler. He amazed the doctors with the physical feats that he accomplished. He was given 3 months to live at his
diagnosis, and fought tooth and nail for over a year and half. When it came to his last moments in this world, he said something that touched me very deeply. He told me that when I walk through the woods from now on, he would always be with me, that I would be able to feel him beside me, or hear him behind me. I can’t imagine a more precious gift than those final words. Just days after his death, I came to Tyler to sit under the Cedar of Lebanon (our favorite tree), and find peace in the world. There were swarms of hatchling insects that were so small that they were barely visible. In the morning light they were like a cloud of faeries in the field below the barn. For more than an hour I rested at the base of that wonderful tree and didn’t see another soul, yet knowing that I wasn’t alone.
For years following, life marched on at an incredible pace. I worked my way diligently through college, graduated, then chose to follow a completely unrelated profession in stone masonry, which I still do to this day. I moved many times, met many wonderful new people, explored my passion in music, started my own business, fell in love. Amongst these things, I rarely found time to escape to nature the way that I always had.
Now I have my own 2 children, and through them have re-discovered Tyler yet again. The fields have transformed into intricate mazes that the boys love to run through. The forests are now full of imaginative tree houses and Hobbit holes that keep their young minds racing. Tyler has gone through a transformation much like myself over the years. It has grown, it is more complex, but the roots are still the same ones that I grew up with. The cedar stands strong, the boulders in Rocky Run are unmoved by
mother nature, still welcoming a picnic lunch. Tyler is truly a place of magic and wonder to me, and many others. With all of the places that I’ve been in this world, there is something more profound at Tyler, at my second home, in my woods.
That is my story as it relates to the Arboretum, feel free to use it in any way that you choose.
On a side note, I’ve been considering donating my time to the Arboretumfor a couple years now, specifically for something that would utilize my skills in masonry. I’m not sure if you know who would handle such projects, but if you do, I’d appreciate their contact information.
Thank you for your time, and I hope my story can help the Arboretum in
– Matt Delaney
The Gift of Impact: One Happy Camper’s Story
“What he learned from Tyler cannot be measured by tests, scores, etc. His ideas about the world are no longer contained within the walls of a brick-and-mortar building.”
My son Galván has been transformed by his experiences at Tyler’s summer camp. This is not to say that he is a dramatically different boy but his changes, while subtle, resonate deeply.
What profoundly affected me was how often he wanted to “lead” me on a tour of what he’d explored earlier that day. I can’t tell you how proudly I followed him as my quietly confident “leader,” a side of him I had never seen fully in action before.
Galván sees the world with a much keener insight than before. Now Galván sees insects and plants and animals in our backyard which I don’t see at all! For example, Galván spotted a “tree toad” in our patio that was invisible to me until, at his insistence, I was almost face-to-face with the poor creature. He finds caterpillars in our walks and points out plants such as milkweed. Never before has he discovered so much wildlife in the most ordinary of settings.
Galván asks questions that display a new inquisitiveness about the natural world: are there black widow spiders in Pennsylvania? Are there amoebas in pond water? pool water? drinking water? It’s as if Tyler Arboretum opened up a new dimension, full of new possibilities, that was previously unknown to him.
What he learned from Tyler cannot be measured by tests, scores, etc. His ideas about the world are no longer contained within the walls of a brick-and-mortar building.
I think what’s even more important is that Galván now stops and considers the patterns and textures of what he sees around him–perhaps not even solely limited to the natural world–and tries to identify what he sees. That pausing, that inquiry, I believe will serve him well no matter the context.
Thank you for a tremendously enriching experience for Galván–and me!
Tyler member & Camper’s mom
The Gift of Impact: A Volunteer Shares
“There are so many different ways to offer assistance and it is a fun and beautiful environment.”
A friend gifted me my first membership to Tyler because she knows how much I enjoy walking in a natural setting. Now, three years later, I am still excited walking along the paths at Tyler seeing each season as it progresses. But that first year I also became aware of the events and educational programs offered, and then the volunteer program which is when my life took on a new dimension. I met the wonderful people who work at Tyler. They are always cheerful and thankful for every minute of time I am there. There are so many different ways to offer assistance and it is a fun and beautiful environment. An added plus are the new friendships I have with the other volunteers.
Tyler Member and Volunteer
If you would like to share your experience at Tyler, please contact Laura McPhail at email@example.com or call (610) 566-9134, ext. 208.