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Volunteer Spotlight: Eric Vanderbeck Q&A

Eric Vanderbeck has been an integral part of the education committee for the past few years. He has also taken on a new passion project for the museum: landscaping. We asked him a few questions about the endeavor.

Question: What inspired you to volunteer at the Bosque Museum?

Answer: Having a career in horticulture for 45 years and a passion for plants all my life I was fortunate to be able to retire to Bosque County in 2015.It was here I found one of the great joys and surprises of Clifton, the Bosque Museum.This local museum reminded me of the large impact the Fielder and other museums in Chicago had on my early life. Museums were where time was spent connecting history, creating a sense of place, and following interests. The Bosque Museum offers the same opportunities through historical exhibits that cover a spectrum of disciplines in the arts and sciences. I want others to have the same sense of wonder that museum experiences gave me in my life.I am happy to volunteer where a need is shown.

Question: What other non-profits have you worked with before?


YMCA, Camp Carter – Advisory Board

Tree Tops in the Forest Environmental School – Advisory Board

REAL School Gardens – (Rainwater Environmental Alliance for Learning) - Educator

During the eleven years instructing environmental education to elementary, middle and high school students with REAL School Gardens, (now called, Out-Teach) my passion for assisting students to be more engaged learners and lifelong environmental stewards was born. The Out-Teach organization worked in 110 DFW area schools, building school gardens to help teachers and students apply the state required curriculum outside. After all, what one teaches inside can be taught outside.

Question: What is the focus of your work with Henry Painter on the current museum landscaping?

Answer: Henry Painter (former Executive Director of the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens) and I did our life’s work in horticulture in Fort Worth. We surprised each other at a chance meeting here and discovered that we both had retired to Bosque County. Because we share a strong belief in educating people on the impact plants have on the world, we seized the opportunity to partner together to design, create, and install an updated teaching landscape that reflects, accentuates, and optimizes the museum buildings' purposes and architecture.

In the initial planting, McDaniel’s Landscape Co. was approached to fund most of the new landscape design at the Jacob Olsen cabin and an anonymous donor offered to cover the final expenses. The second installment of the design at the entry to the building was mostly funded by another anonymous donor and Grass Roots Landscape was chosen to do the installation; Grass Roots also volunteered some gratis labor to the project. It is pleasing to note that the businesses and community saw it important to become involved in this local treasure; and so, business partnerships, community funders, and a museum education grant have collaborated together as a result of seeing the need.

Question: What plants have you chosen and why?

Answer: Native Texas plants were chosen for the Olson Log Cabin design to show what fibers, tools, medicines and foods were used by our ancestors. This created a native landscape that is also used as a dynamic teaching tool.

Some of the plants used were:

  • Black-eyed Susan – Red Yucca – Texas Sage – Purple Cone flower

  • Salvia Greggi – Turks Cap – Lantana – Rock Rose – Giant Cone Flower

  • Flame Acanthus – Texas Mountain Laurel

Question: What else would you like to add or would like our members to know?

Answer: The final landscape design and installation needed is to create a geologic teaching area at the Education Entrance on the north side of the museum; using boulders and stone made of:

  • igneous – volcanic rock,

  • metamorphic – rock changed by heat or pressure

  • sedimentary - rock formed by pressure and time

The design has been completed, education grant money is providing partial funding for materials and installation. Money for completion of the landscape design is open for additional funding.

#landscape #volunteer


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