Director of Education
I was the odd kid at an urban elementary school in Columbus who forewent relay races and tetherball to collect honey locust seed pods and dig-up rocks in the corners of the school yard. So, it came as no surprise when, on Arbor Day, I could be found “rescuing” white pine seedlings, neglected by other students into the depths of trash cans. The trees, which I imagine had been donated, were unlikely to find loving homes on many of the city lots where most of my fellow students lived. Fortunately, I had a rural playground—a piece of land that my family had purchased in southeastern Ohio. My dad, who has a particular fondness for trees, planted the seedlings in drywall buckets and nurtured them in the backyard, later transplanting them onto the property. Many died, but a dozen-or-so still stand strong along the property’s fence line, greeting visitors as they arrive.
At The Arboretum, Arbor Day is kind of a big deal. The holiday, the brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton and first celebrated in 1892, was set aside for the purpose of planting trees and increasing awareness about their importance. Trees are central to all that we do at The Dawes Arboretum, and our annual Arbor Day Festival is no exception.
The Arbor Day Festival takes place annually on the Saturday after the last Friday in April (sometimes it lands in May!) April. All are invited to join Arboretum staff, volunteers and local community partners on Saturday, April 25, 2015 from 10am – 4pm, where opportunities abound to explore the importance of trees. Tree climbing, wood carving demonstrations, crafts, displays, an exploration of your family tree and a plant sale are just some of the activities in which you’ll be able to participate. Our friends from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium will provide “animal encounters” with critters who love trees in the All Seasons Garden at noon and 1pm. The first 250 families will receive a free tree to plant, in honor of the holiday—just remember, I’ll be on the look-out to be sure you don’t drop it in the waste bin!