Abi Echevarria works in the Japanese Garden of Buffalo every day summer, fall, winter, spring. I asked him how he feels when vandals (mostly kids at night) break the young trees, graffiti the benches and bridges, and snap off the irrigation systems. (It happens often - almost routinely). Abi's surprising response was not angry, but strong and compassionate. "I talk to people every day about what the trees and plants give us. They are part of the air, literally. Mostly people understand. When I plant a tree I think about my kids, seeing this tree grow, mature. My son has helped me plant trees. He'll see it some day and remember when it was a sapling and we worked here to plant it. I can not get angry or hostile about ignorant behavior. That would not do any good. (Especially for me!) I pick up and regroup."
Abi thinks his response has been shaped by working in the Garden, and by his trip to Japan a few years ago. Every time a tree is broken, he replants three new young saplings. His staff is supplemented by volunteers. Each tree planned requires a lot of time and energy invested. (Donations can be made at the Olmsted Conservancy!)