Dave's Bonsai garden

Dave Severson has been a member of the Duluth Area Family YMCA since 1985. Even if you don’t know Dave personally, if you’ve visited the Downtown Y in the past decade, you’ve probably seen a bonsai tree on the front desk. Those are his creations, brought in for the enjoyment of members and guests.

During his career in child protection, Dave used the Y as a space to clear his head. Since his retirement in 2008 he has gotten to know many members and has shared his bonsai art with the Y community for the past 10 years.

“The Y has been an extraordinarily significant place for me to stay energized about bonsai. If I were all alone with this and could never show them, it would greatly diminish my love for the art form,” Dave said. “I bring bonsai to the Y to convey intrigue and wonder. Staff ask during winter when the trees are coming back. And members know its spring when there is a tree on the desk."

Bonsai is an ancient Chinese horticultural practice adapted by Japanese Zen Buddhism, meaning, “planted in a container.” Visiting Dave’s bonsai garden brings an almost immediate sense of peace. His serene and tranquil garden is filled with more than 70 plants he has saved from roadside ditches, or has retrieved through his plant-finding trips.

Dave is a generous supporter of the Y through his art and resources. “Community programs like the Y provides are integral for our children, especially city children. The Y provides experiences for kids to get rid of all of their wonderful energy," Dave said. "Seeing how the Y supports parents with the exhaustion of having a child and giving them a time and a place to be a more successful parent is why I support the Y.”

Support the Duluth Area Family YMCA today. 

Locations: Downtown YMCA
Category: Membership