New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) is a prominent meadow plant which blooms from September through October in Acadia National Park's Wild Gardens of Acadia.New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) is a prominent meadow plant which blooms from September through October in Acadia National Park's Wild Gardens of Acadia.

BAR HARBOR — A beautiful new collection of photographs and remembrances of Acadia National Park’s Wild Gardens of Acadia, written by two long-time friends, volunteers, and supporters of the gardens, will be presented by the authors at College of the Atlantic May 6.

Anne Kozak, Sue Leiter, and photographer Josh Winer will discuss their work on Wild Gardens of Acadia at COA’s Deering Common on Friday, May 6, beginning at 4:30 p.m. A reception will follow the talk.

COA writing program director Anne Kozak.COA writing program director Anne Kozak.The Wild Gardens of Acadia is the latest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s newest series Images of Modern America. Released on May 2, 2016, the book uses stunning images to illustrate the growth of the Wild Gardens and highlights the founder, supporters and volunteers who have worked for decades to make the place one of the premier locations to observe native plant life on Mount Desert Island.

“I found it to be great fun to review the work of the remarkable people who created the Wild Gardens and  believe they would be pleased by our  portrayal of their efforts,” Leiter said. “I hope those equally remarkable people who have sustained and built upon the foundations laid in 1961 will also find pleasure in the telling of the story.”

Founded in 1961 at ANP’s Sieur de Monts Springs, the Wild Gardens display, preserve, propagate, and label native plants in areas simulating natural plant communities. Since the founding, countless park visitors have come to the gardens to identify plants they have seen on walks or hikes or to learn more about cultivating native plants.

Sam Putnam, the grandson of Anne Kozak, helps clean the brook at Acadia National Park's Wild Gardens of Acadia. A new book on the Wild Gardens written by local authors Anne Kozak and Susan Leiter is published by Arcadia Publishing.Sam Putnam, the grandson of Anne Kozak, helps clean the brook at Acadia National Park's Wild Gardens of Acadia. A new book on the Wild Gardens written by local authors Anne Kozak and Susan Leiter is published by Arcadia Publishing.

Kozak and Leiter have volunteered together in the gardens since the early 1970s, and both, over the years, have served key roles managing, fundraising, and working with plants.

While Kozak initially worked in many of the gardens’ habitats and with Leiter developed plantings along the stream bordering the wild gardens, for the last 15 years she has worked to secure funding for the gardens and to ensure their long-term viability. She is currently co-chair of the Wild Gardens committee.

Former Maine Library Media Specialist of the Year Susan Leiter, pictured, has partnered with long-time friend Anne Kozek on The Wild Gardens of Acadia, a new book about Acadia National Park's native gardens.Former Maine Library Media Specialist of the Year Susan Leiter, pictured, has partnered with long-time friend Anne Kozek on The Wild Gardens of Acadia, a new book about Acadia National Park's native gardens.Leiter served as co-chair of the committee for 22 years, coordinating the work of volunteers, supervising the work of student interns, working in the gardens’ habitats, and developing a long-term management plan.

Kozak said that her work with the people and the plants of the Wild Gardens has enriched her life greatly.

“I like the chance to interact with visitors, showcase the garden to people, and talk about native plants,” she said. “At first it was just a way of doing something and meeting people. But, over time, Sue and I became very involved in the gardens, and very committed. They had some serious financial issues, and we wanted to be sure that the gardens continued.”

All proceeds from the sale of The Wild Gardens of Acadia will benefit the Endowment for the Wild Gardens at Friends of Acadia.