Farewell to Dan Crowley

Posted: October 18, 2018 at 10:55 am

Dan joined the Westonbirt Tree Team in 2009, initially as an Arborist, before taking up the newly created role of Dendrologist in 2013.

We created the role as a development opportunity, to allow the successful candidate to develop their botanical skills by closely studying the special plants in our living collection. Dan always had a passion for woody plants and a tremendous appreciation of the Westonbirt heritage – he grasped the opportunity with both hands! Over the last five years he has become a widely recognised tree expert and plantsman in his own right, and has worked tirelessly to improve the verification and identification of our plants.

Our curator, Mark Ballard, said:

"To his great credit, Dan has helped us raise the standard of curation at Westonbirt in many ways, and in a relatively short time. It has been a pleasure working with Dan and he will be sorely missed by everyone connected to the arboretum."

We asked Dan to share some of his memories and highlights of his time here at Westonbirt...

“I am immensely proud to have worked at Westonbirt and privileged to have represented the arboretum both nationally and internationally. I am of course hugely grateful for the opportunities I have had.

My first visit to Westonbirt, as a paying customer in late autumn 2006, left a lasting impression on me and I was particularly taken by the big trees along Specimen Avenue. I recalled that first visit with great satisfaction as I planted a young Taiwania cryptomerioides in this part of the Old Arboretum a few years later.

Indeed, planting has been one of my favourite tasks here as it afforded me the opportunity to learn so much. I was able to build up knowledge of soil and site conditions across the arboretum, which has contributed to my knowledge of trees and their growing preferences.

Among the many highlights have also been the seed collecting expeditions I have been fortunate to go on. These have been great learning opportunities and truly thrilling experiences too. Now I am excited to see plants collected on these expeditions growing well in the arboretum.

Almost as much as the trees, I value the relationships that I have formed with the people of Westonbirt. Fellow staff, volunteers and visitors have become friends and I'm hugely grateful for the support that I have been shown during my time here; I shall miss you all. However, I’m not intending to become a stranger to the arboretum so I hope to see you all again in the not too distant future.”

Good luck Dan, thanks for all your great work and do keep in touch.

Read about one of Dan's research trips to Vietnam here...