By Rachel Schlegel, Hesston College
A love for plants and an eye for the Kansas prairie’s beauty were the spark and vision for a treasured Hesston landmark that is left as Evie Dyck’s ongoing legacy with the Dyck Arboretum of the Plains. Evie passed away April 7, at the age of 88.
The Dyck Arboretum was a wheat field on the edge of town when Evie and her husband, Harold, who passed away in 2007, donated its 31 acres to Hesston College in 1981. After being inspired by a trip to the Bartlett Arboretum near Belle Plaine, Kan., the Dycks wanted to create a place in Hesston where people of all ages could enjoy nature, find a peaceful place for reflection and encourage a greater understanding and appreciation of the prairie.
They started the arboretum because of my mother’s great love of the Kansas prairie and the Great Plains and her spiritual connection to nature and God’s creation,” said Julia (Dyck) Roupp, one of Harold and Evie’s daughters, in a 2007 interview following Harold’s death.
Their vision has been recognized many times over for the thousands of people who visit the arboretum each year for educational events, entertainment or simple enjoyment of nature. Its location next to Schowalter Villa and a block south of the college makes it a convenient place to unify people across the age spectrum.
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