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  • Joe Jacquinot

Keeping the Momentum

President's Letter

Hello arboretum enthusiasts and supporters, and welcome to the 2023 season! My name is Joseph Jacquinot, and I am the new incoming president to our arboretum. I’d like to start by commending Bob Hundhausen for his tireless efforts over the last few years. I’ve witnessed the countless hours he has committed to keeping and building energy within the arboretum. The numerous emails, texts, calls, meetings, fundraising, event planning, interactions and literally digging hands in the dirt are just some of the pledges any board member signs up for. Often, the president commits the most and carries the most weight. I witnessed this firsthand from our past president. Thank you, Bob.

There is a palpable momentum that has been methodically and slowly growing within the arboretum. It has been years in the making. Like a seed or tree that was planted and nourished over time, the arboretum is starting to produce vivid life. The public sees what is above ground. The manicured gardens and well-kept landscape that form in the seasons, which is esthetically pleasing and enjoyed by the community. Gratefully, many express positive affirmations for our efforts. Yet, the volunteers and board within the organization - the true root system of the PCA - may go unnoticed. The PCA root system is there, but must remain strong within our populace. I have to start this presidency by asking for continued support from our root system. Significant changes have taken place within our board that have altered the landscape. Grace Milanowski vacated the coordinator position, and Kris Wright, Shannon Baxter, and Bob Digman have all stepped down from the board. I could write a small novel on their collective accomplishments, but there is neither time nor space within this article. What I can tell you is that they were/are instrumental cogs in PCA fruition. Kris has agreed to stay on the ecology committee as a non-board member, and we are very grateful for this. Truthfully, I’m saddened to see them go. But like Wisconsin weather, or life in general, change is inevitable.

Serving on the Board is rewarding, but somewhat encumbering at times. I remember my first board meeting with PCA upstairs at the Driftless Market. It was a bit overwhelming trying to meet so many other members and take in PCA duties. Fast forward four+ years and enter Bob Gates, Tammie Engleke, and Dan Engelke as new board members, along with Don Francis as our new lead coordinator. They’ve had two collective meetings and I wonder if they had the same ‘what did I get myself into’ feeling I had in my first meeting. The board and volunteers are a dynamic, and varying group; however, our mission statement has held steadfast over the years: Like-minded people toward a common goal of beautifying Platteville. This is one of many reasons PCA has made gains over the years. There is a collective drive within all of PCA, from both our community volunteers and our members. Call it our visible – or invisible? – plant and root structure (if you recall my previous analogy). Fortunately, the public has supported PCA with unwavering resolve. We receive all kinds of gifts that include: monetary donations, volunteerism, corporate sponsors, and in-kind gifts. As president, I will do everything I can to nurture and cultivate this symbiotic relationship.

As promised, here’s the boring stuff: a little about me. I grew up in Dubuque and did my undergrad at Loras College, where I met my wife Mandi, who is from Decorah, IA. We lived in Iowa City while I attended dental school, moved back to Dubuque and then to Madison before deciding to start a family, and set down our own ‘root system.’ After careful consideration, we chose Platteville to open our own practice and have kids. One of our best decisions, as Platteville checked off all the boxes. We loved the small-town vibe, the people, the schools, the Driftless area and the proximity to family (not too far, yet not too close). I’ve been a practicing dentist since 2005 and I am an owner of Platteville Dental. Mandi and I now have three amazing children and all three of the kids enjoy soccer. I’ve been 'roped' into volunteer coaching my youngest son’s soccer team and have ended up enjoying every minute of it. It's so rewarding to coach and just watch as kids run free in open space. Both Mandi and I have logged hundreds of miles running, biking, and walking the PCA trail, and it’s a way to escape from the frenetic pace that my life has become. I hope all of you reading this view the trail in a similar fashion, as your walking/running trail… or garden escape… or mental reset… etc.

So, finally, I will close by saying this is your town, your green space, your Platteville. It’s what you make of it. Any way you support the arboretum is greatly appreciated. Let’s keep this momentum going and keep the PCA the beauty it has become.

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