Cal Poly’s Leaning Pine Arboretum Receives $1 Million Donation for Upgrades and Enhanced Programming – Cal Poly News

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Gift from longtime university supporters Kathleen Enz Finken (former provost) and Gerald Finken honors Dean of Agriculture Andrew J. Thulin

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Kathleen Enz Finken, provost of Cal Poly from 2012 to 2019, and her husband, Gerald Finken, both longtime supporters of Cal Poly, have donated $1 million to the Leaning Pine Arboretum at the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science. The donation was made in honor of Andrew J. Thulin, dean of the college since 2013 and former head of the college’s animal science department.

Nestled on five acres, the Leaning Pine Arboretum is Cal Poly’s living classroom for students, faculty, and the community. The arboretum features an impressive array of landscape plants representing the five Mediterranean climatic regions of the world.

This collection of landscaping serves several purposes for the university and the community. An extension of the Cal Poly Horticulture and Crop Science Department’s Environmental Horticultural Science Facility, the Arboretum’s primary focus remains education: a resource for independent study, research, and workshops that promote best practices. of horticulture for Cal Poly students and faculty covering many areas of study.

The donation will help fund the continued integration of the Arboretum into the fabric of the Cal Poly community through increased access, improved directional signage, programs and educational opportunities, while serving of regional appeal to Central Coast and horticulture visitors. industry.

This isn’t the first time the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences has benefited from the generosity of the Finkens. The couple are strong supporters of Swanton Pacific Ranch, Cal Poly’s sprawling 3,200-acre property in Santa Cruz County, whose diverse and fragile ecosystems — including redwood forests, coastal grasslands and a lush estuary — are the place for student research and educational activities. .

“The Finkens’ philanthropic support of Cal Poly and the community illustrates their commitment to fostering educational opportunities for students and the environment,” Thulin said. “Just as their past support of Swanton Pacific Ranch has helped the college improve educational opportunities there, this gift will expand our offerings at the unique Leaning Pine Arboretum to engage the wider community.”

Leaning Pines Arboretum Sign

The arboretum has long been a crown jewel for the campus community as well as the greater San Luis Obispo community. Over the years, many horticultural and botanical students, faculty and staff have worked in the garden to maintain its beauty and significance. However, it is not viable under the college’s current budget scenario, nor is it fully accessible to many visitors. Infrastructure and accessibility improvements are needed, and the Finkens’ donation will help make those improvements a reality.

“Dean Thulin led the complete transformation of Cal Poly’s College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences by working tirelessly to raise funds to support students and faculty, and to bring in the college facilities into the 21st century,” said Kathleen Enz Finken. “He is an energetic and caring professional, fully invested in strengthening the learning environment and preparing students for successful careers. While the arboretum is personally important to Gerald and me, it will be upgraded as part of a larger upgrade to the college’s student learning facilities, which will be a testament to Dean Thulin’s leadership and the support of many generous donors. for many years to come.”

Said Thulin, “The Leaning Pine Arboretum will serve as an essential tool in addressing the growing impacts of drought, climate change and wildfires, which require landscape research, education and awareness. Mediterranean. As a regional destination, the Leaning Pine Arboretum can meet the need for horticultural education and training in the Mediterranean climate and provide students with valuable hands-on experience.

About the Leaning Pine Arboretum
The five-acre Leaning Pine Arboretum, established within the College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences 50 years ago, is a distinctive representation of the plant species that make up the five Mediterranean ecosystems of the world. The student-run botanical garden, surrounded by stunning views overlooking the Cal Poly campus, showcases a wide range of flower, plant, and tree collections and offers students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a lab flourishing living of plants from all over the world. species. Learn more at aeps.calpoly.edu/leaning-pine-arboretum.

About Cal Poly College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences
Cal Poly is a nationally ranked comprehensive polytechnic university. The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences is made up of expert faculty members who pride themselves on their ability to transform academically motivated students into innovative professionals ready to solve the complex challenges associated with to sustainably feed the world. Students have access to state-of-the-art labs — including organic and conventional farmland, orchards, vineyards, forests, and rangelands — all of which form the foundation of Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing methodology. It is the fifth largest agricultural college in the nation with over 4,100 undergraduate students. For more information, visit cafes.calpoly.edu.

Photo information:

Top: Finkens.jpg — Former Cal Poly provost Kathleen Enz Finken, right, and her husband Gerald Finken — longtime supporters of the university — donated $1 million to the Leaning Arboretum Pine by Cal Poly. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Enz Finken.

A view of the Cal Poly Leaning Pine Arboretum from the deckNestled on five acres, the Leaning Pine Arboretum is Cal Poly’s living classroom for students, faculty, and the community. The arboretum features an impressive array of landscape plants representing the five Mediterranean climatic regions of the world.

Leaning-Pine-Arboretum-Sign.jpg and Leaning-Pine-Arboretum-Deck-Chair.jpg
Photos courtesy of Cal Poly.

March 25, 2022
Contact: AnnMarie Cornejo
805-756-2427; [email protected]

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