Judy and Mike McIlwain

Judy and Mike McIlwain. (Photo courtesy of the Dallas Arboretum.)

Judy and Mike McIlwain celebrated their 50th anniversary at a Cool Thursdays concert last year. Together, they have volunteered more than 7,500 hours at the Dallas Arboretum.

This fall, they are taking on another volunteer role, co-chairing Autumn at the Arboretum, the garden’s fall festival. This year’s nostalgic theme is “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” which includes many themed topiaries based on the Peanuts gang and Halloween.

Formerly a speech pathologist, Judy started volunteering at the Dallas Arboretum in spring 2005 after she retired. She leads the garden’s visitor service steering committee.

“I volunteered in several areas but settled primarily on the information booth,” she said. “I love greeting the brides, quinceañeras and babies as they come through the gate.”

After Mike retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2006, he also started volunteering. He works at the greenhouse, takes pictures of the plants in the trial gardens, works with the Volunteer Advisory Board photo project and joins Judy in the information booth on Friday afternoons.

“I think we like to ‘pretend’ that the Arboretum is our garden,” Mike said.

The Autumn at the Arboretum exhibit runs from Sept. 21 through Oct. 31. Tickets are available here.

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