BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — The Bismarck Rotary Arboretum, sponsored by the Bismarck Rotary Club, features ten acres of nature, with 29 different varieties of plants from the state around the area.

There aren’t too many animals to worry about at the Arboretum, but caring for almost every kind of native tree in North Dakota takes a huge amount of effort — and a good amount of money, too. To help out with maintenance costs, the Bismarck Rotary Club has reached out to the Bismarck Parks And Rec department for assistance in keeping it clean. The Department might be willing to agree- assuming the Rotary Club can meet them in the middle.

In order to qualify for the funds from the Department, the Rotary Club would need to raise their own money to match the grant Parks and Rec will provide. This is exactly why they hosted a fundraiser on September 1 — to help rise to the occasion and fund the arboretum project. During the event, guests bought tickets to a brief cruise on the Lewis and Clark Riverboat — featuring a catered light dinner, a cash bar, and an hour of rest and relaxation.

While they’ve already started to make great progress towards their goal, even if they can’t quite do it in the time frame they hope to, it thankfully won’t necessarily mean the end of the Arboretum. It would, however, decrease the Rotary Club’s ability to keep the area maintained so that everyone can enjoy it to the fullest extent.

“As all of you know,” explains Bismarck Rotary Club Arboretum Committee Member Ken Schiele, “if you have backyards, it takes a lot to maintain. You have to take out the dead, re-plant the new, control the weeds, maintain the trail…. that’s what our funding is for.”

With the proceeds from the fundraiser combined with future efforts, the Rotary Club hopes that they’ll be able to not only maintain the Arboretum’s current state but also add even more to the area in the future. While the fundraising may be difficult, they say it’s worth it to protect the area that so many North Dakotans have grown to love.

“It’s one of the gems in Bismarck, I think, as far as parks go,” continues Schiele, “And I’m discovering that a lot of people aren’t aware of it. It’s been there a long time, and we need to make sure it gets known more. It’s a little piece of the North Dakota Prairie in the middle of the city.”

For more information about the Bismarck Rotary Club, visit their website. More about the matching grant program and the Department of Parks and Recreation can be found on their own page.