Photo courtesy of the Dallas Arboretum.

Judy and Mike McIlwain celebrated their 50th anniversary at a Cool Thursdays concert last year and together have volunteered more than 7,500 hours at the Dallas Arboretum.

This fall they are taking on another volunteer role, co-chairing Autumn at the Arboretum, the garden’s fall festival. This year’s nostalgic theme is “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” which includes many themed topiaries based on the Peanuts gang and Halloween.

Formerly a speech pathologist, Judy started volunteering at the Dallas Arboretum in spring 2005 after she retired. Judy leads the garden’s visitor service steering committee.

“I volunteered in several areas but settled primarily on the information booth. I love greeting the brides, quinceañeras and babies as they come through the gate,” she says.

After Mike retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2006, he also started volunteering. He works at the greenhouse, takes pictures of the plants in the trial gardens, works with the Volunteer Advisory Board (VAB) photo project at various times of the year, works at the membership table and joins Judy in the information booth on Friday afternoons. He is the VAB chair elect.

“I think we like to ‘pretend’ that the Arboretum is our garden,” Mike says.

The Autumn at the Arboretum exhibit runs from September 21 through October 31. Tickets are available here.

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