Head Start families participate in a StoryWalk
Head Start families participate in a StoryWalk

This past Saturday, October 17, marked the 8th Annual Head Start Family Day at the Arnold Arboretum. The Arboretum has been hosting preschool children and their families for a morning of outdoor exploration, literacy, and fellowship since the Head Start Initiative began in 2007. This year’s highlight, led by Children’s Programs volunteers, was a StoryWalk™ using the book Dot and Jabber and The Great Acorn Mystery by Ellen Stoll Walsh. Participating children explored the landscape and became detectives like the book’s characters, following clues and searching for acorns and the beautiful oak trees that produce them.

Making colorful leaf rubbings
Making colorful leaf rubbings

Back at the Hunnewell Building after their adventures, children enjoyed comparing the different sizes, colors, and shapes of acorns and their caps (cupules) at the sensory table. Also on display there were several tubs of soil for investigation. These engaged children and adults alike in digging for earthworms, slugs, millipedes, and sow bugs, which were observed with large hand lenses (and even held by some of the more adventurous participants). At another table, children made rubbings using colorful leaves from Arboretum trees. Older children stood behind a bird blind and learned how to use binoculars to observe feeding behavior at the Visitor Center bird feeders.

Throughout the morning, families enjoyed healthy foods while connecting with one another and the Arboretum volunteers who share this beautiful landscape with children each season. This successful collaboration with Head Start involved over 60 children and an equal number of adults this year–truly a bumper crop, not unlike the acorns produced in abundance this fall.

–Ana Maria Caballero, Science Educator


From “free” to “friend”…

Established in 1911 as the Bulletin of Popular Information, Arnoldia has long been a definitive forum for conversations about temperate woody plants and their landscapes. In 2022, we rolled out a new vision for the magazine as a vigorous forum for tales of plant exploration, behind-the-scenes glimpses of botanical research, and deep dives into the history of gardens, landscapes, and science. The new Arnoldia includes poetry, visual art, and literary essays, following the human imagination wherever it entangles with trees.

It takes resources to gather and nurture these new voices, and we depend on the support of our member-subscribers to make it possible. But membership means more: by becoming a member of the Arnold Arboretum, you help to keep our collection vibrant and our research and educational mission active. Through the pages of Arnoldia, you can take part in the life of this free-to-all landscape whether you live next door or an ocean away.

For more tree-entangled art, science, and writing, subscribe to Arnoldia by becoming a member of the Arnold Arboretum.