By Deb Everts

The Nannen Arboretum Society is seeking volunteers to help cleanup the arboretum’s grounds after recent snow and wind storms ravaged the property with tree branches of all sizes.

The first cleanup day is scheduled for Friday, April 20 from 9 a.m. to noon with additional cleanup days at the same time on Saturday, May 12 and Thursday, May 17.

Nan Miller of the Nannen Arboretum Society said 80 percent of the debris can be picked up and she said anyone who is able to “bend over and pick up a stick” can be a big help. She advises volunteers to dress appropriately for the weather and bring their favorite pruning tool, if possible. They should also wear rubber boots or something waterproof on their feet. She said there is no need to sign up. Pizza will be provided around noon.

Miller said no cleanup has been done yet and society members did one more evaluation April 13 on the Upper Meadow and Lowe Herb Garden. She said they have a map and a listing of the trees to direct volunteers to work on certain areas — they’ll leave the big trees for professionals.

“As we went through and did damage control, we rated the trees from zero to four. If a tree is rated zero, it doesn’t need to have anything done. A one means we and the volunteers can take care of it. Two would require a volunteer with a chainsaw,” she said. “Anything above that, we’re having to hire a professional. We’ve been trying to get those statistics together so we can tell them what we need.”

According to Miller, the Nannen Arboretum was created in 1960 from eight acres of property donated to the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cattaraugus County by William and Sadie Nannen. She said the property was donated to the extension office so they could build a pond to show farmers the correct way to build a farm pond. She said the arboretum started with 400 trees and there are now 300 trees the Nannen Arboretum Society Inc. maintains.

“The late John Ploetz was a tree expert who worked for the Davey Tree Company in Ohio before he came here and worked as a horticultural aide for the Cornell Cooperative Extension office in Ellicottville,” she said. “He was also a collector of trees, so he had some really exotic ones on his own property and he started with a lot of them. However, a lot of those trees weren’t meant for swampy conditions, so they died. John also designed Lake Nipponica and he’s responsible for all the Japanese influence at the arboretum.”

The Nannen Arboretum is located at 28 Parkside Drive in Ellicottville. The botanical garden devoted to trees is owned by the Town of Ellicottville and is managed by the Nannen Arboretum Society, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing home garden and natural resource education.

In addition to the cleanup days on April 20, May 12 and May 17, the Nannen Arboretum Society and volunteers have regular work days every Monday from 9:30 a.m. to noon. The society will be in “cleanup mode” in the early weeks, but are also looking for volunteers to assist in other areas such as the Carolyn Lowe Herb Garden.

A volunteer recruitment day is scheduled for June 25 at 9:30 a.m. at the arboretum.

Cleanup days will be rescheduled in case of rain or snow; information will be posted on the Nannen Arboretum Society’s Facebook page.

Anyone interested in volunteering or those seeking additional information can email Additional information is also available at and the society’s Facebook page.