Bilderbacks launch endowment to support JCRA programs for children

In August, Dr. Ted Bilderback and his wife, Linda, signed an agreement with the N.C. Agricultural Foundation Inc. to sponsor the creation of the Linda and Theodore (Ted) Bilderback Endowment for the JC Raulston Arboretum Children’s Program.

Ted Bilderback retired this past summer as director of the arboretum and professor of horticultural science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, N.C. State University. As JCRA director, he led the way for the development of the JCRA Children’s Program.

The Children’s Program was begun in 2011 to help grow the next generations of good and thoughtful stewards of the green world. By 2013, there were 55 programs offered with nearly 1,500 participants.

Children have the opportunity to learn about plants, gardening and horticulture at the JCRA.
Children have the opportunity to learn about plants, gardening and horticulture at the JCRA.

Through the Children’s Program, the arboretum welcomes children, youth and families to explore and learn together. A variety of creative, fun, science-based programs are available to experience the gardens and explore the interaction between people and plants. These include programs aimed at teaching children about plants, gardening, and horticulture; stimulating children’s abilities to observe, analyze and interact with plants; and developing children’s appreciation of the environment and of the need for conservation.

The North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association (NCNLA) and the Johnston County Nursery Marketing Association pledged challenge gifts to the new endowment, and the challenge was met with more than $31,000 raised. The Bilderback Endowment will support the programming, events, staffing and related activities for children at the JCRA.

Bilderback, shown at work at the arboretum, led the way for the development of the Children's Program there.
Bilderback, shown at work at the arboretum, led the way for the development of the Children’s Program there.

A long-time colleague and friend of the late arboretum founder J.C. Raulston, Bilderback passionately and successfully led the JCRA from 2009 to June 2014 as director. He began his career in the CALS Department of Horticultural Science in 1977. His Extension, teaching and research responsibilities included cultural production techniques for nursery crops.

From 1977 to 1987 Bilderback co-taught, with Raulston, nursery production and management courses each fall and tree and grounds maintenance each spring. In 1987, he took on responsibilities as the nursery Extension specialist for the department, and he continued to work closely with the nursery industry to develop cost-effective and environmentally conscious cultural practices for growing nursery stock and for irrigation management. He has been widely published more than 600 times.

Bilderback serves as the educational adviser to the N.C. Nursery and Landscape Association (NCNLA). He has received more than 30 awards of distinction, including the NCNLA’s 2013 Honorary Lifetime Membership Award and Kansas State University’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Ted Bilderback retired in June as JCRA director and professor in the CALS Department of Horticultural Science.
Ted Bilderback retired in June as JCRA director and professor in the CALS Department of Horticultural Science.

A brochure promoting the endowment describes the JCRA Children’s Program as Bilderback’s “legacy to future generations of budding horticulturists” and an ideal way “to honor his career as an educator and his dedicated service to the green industry.”

To contribute to the Bilderback Endowment, contact Anne Porter at 919-513-3826 or anne_porter@ncsu.edu. For more information on the JCRA Children’s Program, visit http://jcra.ncsu.edu/education/childrens-program/index.php. – Terri Leith

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