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August 2013

In this issue
  • August is Tree Check Month
  • Members' Plant Giveaway: Join us on September 21
  • Fun for the Whole Family on Free Fun Friday
  • Boost Science Education as a School Programs Guide
  • Link Up and Learn with a Tree Mob in August
  • Through a Child's Eye Exhibition Continues
  • Plant Spotlight on Staghorn Sumac

  • Members' Plant Giveaway: Join us on September 21
    Plant Giveaway

    August is a great month to join or renew your membership in the Friends of the Arnold Arboretum, in advance of our Members' Plant Giveaway on Saturday, September 21. Select free woody plants, many propagated from historical Arboretum collections, as our thanks for your support. Expert staff and volunteers will answer your plant questions, and the Giveaway provides a great chance to visit our landscape during the change of seasons. Current members should look for our mailing this month with plant information and event highlights.

    Fun for the Whole Family on Free Fun Friday
    Free Fun Friday

    Make the most of a summer day in the great outdoors without leaving the city! Free Fun Fridays feature events throughout Boston this summer, sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation. Visit the Arboretum on Friday, August 2 to enjoy activities for all ages between 11:00am and 3:00pm. Highlights include a horticultural equipment display and tree climbing demonstration, landscape painting, kids art and science activities, guided and self-guided tours, storytime in English and Spanish, and more! No registration is necessary.

    Boost Science Education as a School Programs Guide
    Field Study Guides

    Make a difference in the community and share the Arboretum with young learners. Apply today as a volunteer guide and train to lead small groups of schoolchildren through an active learning program about plants and the natural world. Training sessions begin later this month, focused on introducing new guides to the basics of botany, the curriculum of the Arboretum's diverse field studies, and the Arboretum landscape as an outdoor classroom. Please call Nancy Sableski, Manager of Children's Education, at 617.384.5239 for more information.

    Link Up and Learn with a Tree Mob in August
    Clethra alnifolia with pollinators

    Discover something new on a Tree Mob, our series of brief interactions in the landscape with plant and science specialists. Join Jack Alexander in the Leventritt Shrub and Vine Collection today at 4:00pm for a comparison of Clethra species, both native and exotic. On August 5 at 12:30pm, Bob Mayer will speak about beneficial cicada-killer wasps in a gathering on Forest Hills Road. Maggie Redfern features one of the Arboretum's oldest trees, Aesculus glabra (Ohio buckeye), on August 8 at 6:00pm. Look for mobs later this month highlighting dragonflies, cattails, pawpaws, and alders.

    Through a Child's Eye Exhibition Continues
    Science Partnership

    The Arboretum inspires people at every age to nurture their curiosity for the natural world. Since 2011, Arboretum educators have helped teach elementary science to students at the Boston Teachers Union School in Jamaica Plain, both in the classroom and in our landscape through field study explorations. Gain a new perspective on this educational partnership by visiting our summer art show, Through a Child's Eye. On view through September 1, the exhibition features observational drawings created by students in Kindergarten through the fifth grade to document their experiments with plants and animals.

    Plant Spotlight on Staghorn Sumac
    Rhus typhina

    The sumac family is large and diverse, including important crops like cashews and mangoes as well as one of the most notorious pests, poison ivy. Among its more ornamental members is Rhus typhina, a shrub commonly called "staghorn sumac" because its young stems are covered with silky pubescence reminiscent of the "velvet" on deer antlers. At this time of year, R. typhina comes into fruit with clusters of small, crimson, hairy drupes that are packed tightly into a pyramidal panicle at the branch ends of female plants. In fall, leaves turn brilliant shades of red, yellow, and orange. Although tough and adaptable, its vigorous, suckering habit makes it unsuitable for smaller gardens. Learn more about staghorn sumac this month in our Visitor Center.

    All images from the Arnold Arboretum Archives, except ALB image courtesy of the USDA and Free Fun Friday logo courtesy of Highland Street Foundation.

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    August is Tree Check Month

    When it comes to stopping the destructive Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), we can all help. The US Department of Agriculture has declared August as Tree Check Month, so get out your binoculars and brush up on your tree identification skills. Adult beetles emerge in late summer to mate, so now is the best time to look for ALB or the large holes they create as they bore out of infested trees. The USDA is conducting final surveys to determine if ALB can be considered "eradicated" in Boston. You can help by checking the trees on your property and around your neighborhood. The beetle has never been found in the Arboretum, though we continue to carefully monitor our susceptible species.

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