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Spring 2021 EJC Arboretum

With the help of our generous donors, we were able to raise $11,798 during Giving Day 2021! Thank you so much to everyone who gave a gift, in any amount. Your generosity helps the Arboretum continue to provide a woodland sanctuary to our community and our precious wildlife.

Springtime's irresistible magic.....watch the wildflowers appear and disappear as nature waves her wand over the forest floor, as if to say, "Ta-dah! Let me enchant you daily!"

Dear Friends of the Arboretum,

The fresh Spell of Spring……I never tire of this feeling of being enchanted; no one does. And there is much to celebrate as we shake winter out of our hands and out of our feet. May you embrace the symphony of smells, color and form before us now.

I simply love how each spring is uniquely different in how it progresses and what players show up when; each year its own orchestrated show of beauty. The wildflowers will some years advance into new locations, never seen before. While also taking turns in their flowering pageantry to show off in full glory one year while another wildflower steps to the back of the stage, though still beautifully present. Each year unfolds a new surprise with how the stage will be set and who will dance together when.

It is just as important this year to get out into spring as it was last year. We want you to take our 2021 theme to heart and make it a reality....

May the Forest Be Your Sanctuary

Whether here in the Arboretum’s oak-hickory forest or in the many national forests nearby such a sanctuary can be transformative. We all benefit from breathing forest air - remember it boosts your immune system and provides many other health benefits - and we become more fully human by walking a trail in the wood under the trees. Let springtime nourish your soul yet again,

Jan Sievers Mahon, Arboretum Director

Honoring Edith J. Carrier

August 1, 1934 – March 14, 2021

Our hearts are with the Carrier family as they grieve the loss of the family's matriarch, Edith Johnson Carrier. Our namesake, Edith J. Carrier, was a remarkable woman who cared deeply about the Arboretum and James Madison University as a whole. We will always remember her for her kindness, joyful presence, and love for gardens. The Arboretum staff are proud to carry her name forward through the Arboretum's name, Edith J. Carrier Arboretum at JMU. May her grace and welcoming nature continue to live on here among the trees and in the gardens.

“Mrs. Carrier wore many hats while Dr. Carrier was president from 1971 to 1998 and chancellor from 1998 to 2002. Among them was as hostess for the many corporate, political and academic luminaries who visited Madison. She also enjoyed hosting numerous social gatherings in their home and attending every JMU sporting event she could.

She didn’t seek the limelight, but her enormous contributions certainly did not go unnoticed by the James Madison University Board of Visitors. In 1998, to acknowledge her years of service to the university and as a recognition of gratitude, the Board of Visitors named the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum in her honor. Mrs. Carrier’s legacy lives on in this beautiful, 125-acre woodland sanctuary and botanical garden on JMU’s campus.” - (JMU Statement, full article link below)

Join the Conversation………It’s Not Too Late

The Arboretum staff and its advisory group are continuing the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work and conversations that were begun last summer and fall. This spring a series of six bi-monthly sessions focuses on values, both personal and collective, with the end result yielding additional Arboretum value statements added to our current set of values.

If you are interested in getting involved in the Arboretum; short-term, just for this work, or longer term, please join us this month to learn and give input to the values that the Arboretum intends to embody. The next session is Friday, 4/16 from 12 noon - 2 PM (if weather permits in the Pavilion or by Zoom). Sessions are completed on 6/10/21.

DID YOU KNOW?

Monarch butterfly on swamp milkweed flower

Swamp milkweed = Pollinator Magnet

Milkweeds are host to the Monarch butterfly and the Queen butterfly (a different species related to the Monarch seen in the south). Both swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata, and common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, plants were found to carry the largest number of monarch eggs compared to the rest of the milkweeds, according to one study.

Left (Common Eastern Bumblebee) Middle (Typocerus Long-Horned Beatle) Right (Syrphid Fly)

In addition the swamp milkweed feeds many other pollinators by producing abundant nectar that feeds numerous bees, including bumblebees and sweat bees, two moths, at least six butterflies in addition to the two monarch species, including the eastern tiger swallowtail, red Admiral, and great spangled fritillary; also the Delaware skipper, hover flies, and some long-horned beetles.

Top Left (Eastern Swallowtail) Top Right (Great Spangled Fritillary) Bottom Left (Red Admiral) Bottom Right (Delaware Skipper)

If you have wet areas in full sun, rain gardens, or a wet meadow this is a perfect perennial to plant in large number, providing nectar-a-plenty for the myriad of pollinators looking for food during the summer months. Like the common milkweed the swamp milkweed has fragrant flowers that are edible too, if you dare to steal them away from the other winged feeders dining on them.

A Glimpse Ahead Into the Summer Season

"It's summertime and the (native) living is easy, in the Sustainability Matters-produced series, Native Virginia Now, starring Shenandoah Valley landowners Jeff & Ali Carithers. Follow the plants, pollinators and animals of Spring House Farms' thriving ecosystem throughout the seasons. In this episode, all the flowers of summer, more flower-coordinated outfits, photobombing beetles, and some surprise lifestyle tips at the end."

Event Highlight - Sound Yoga Series

Wednesdays, 12 PM - 1 PM

April 14, April 21, April 28, May 5

$19/Class or $70 Full Series

The perfect mid-day pick me up! Join E-RYT Connie Magee for a flowing yoga practice and gong bath on the Ernst Tree Terrace (patio adjacent to the Frances Plecker Education Center) at the Arboretum.

This all-levels flow will open your body, align your energy and move forward with your day with a blissful smile. Bring a yoga mat, any props you like to work with (yoga blocks, blanket for Savasana), water bottle and a willingness to evolve. All sessions include breathwork.

Flowering Trees – Eye Catching and Life-preserving

Bridget Murphy | Arboretum Social Media Assistant

Serviceberry flowers - Amelanchier species

There’s more than what catches the eye when it comes to the flowering trees of Virginia. Not only do they add beautiful colors throughout the landscapes they are growing in, but some of them prove to be crucial to the local pollinators and wildlife.

Forests and gardens are continually providing habitats for the wildlife that live in them. An excellent flowering spring tree that truly fills the role of habitat provider is the Serviceberry Tree, also known as Shadblow and Juneberry. There are a number of native species in the genus Amelanchier, and numerous cultivars.

Serviceberry fruit that is edible to birds and humans, yum!

This tree is most commonly known for attracting over 20 species of birds to feed on the small berry-like fruits that are a deep blue-purple at maturity. Birds are essential to forest ecosystems, especially those that feed on fruits because they disperse the seeds. The Serviceberry is also a hot spot for pollinators, beetles and butterflies. It serves as an early nectar and pollen source for early-emerging pollinators and can help build up colonies in the Spring.

Another habitat-supporting Spring tree is the American Fringe Tree, otherwise known as Chionanthus virginicus. This fragrant beauty supports wildlife in the summer months with fresh fruit, but is consistently supporting smaller life forms as well in the spring. Moths and plant-eating insects thrive on and within the Fringe tree. Some insects feed on the sap while moths, like the fringe-tree sallow, make it a larval host plant.

The Arboretum's American Fringe Tree - Chionanthus virginicus

A variety of insects in any habitat provide a great food and protein source for other wildlife. Even fruit-eating birds and animals often resort to local insects, especially for their young. Biodiversity is crucial in every forest, garden and ecosystem – and knowing the trees and plants that support the wildlife and insects is an important first step in achieving that.

UPCOMING EVENTS

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Sound Bathing

Tuesdays | April 13 | May 11 | June 8

Join Sound Healer and Yoga & Meditation Teacher Connie Magee for an etheric journey in the woods. Trees provide healing medicine for the soul, and the otherworldly tones of two large gongs and chimes provide a magical soundscape that dances within the sounds of nature. Find a comfortable spot on your yoga mat or lawn chair, settle into a guided mind-body meditation, and drift away. You'll notice the birds and woodland creatures connecting to the vibrations, and you will deeply relax and tune in simultaneously. Please meet Connie on the Ernst Tree Terrace adjacent to the Frances Plecker Education Center.

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Wildflower Walks

Wednesdays | 10 AM - 11 AM | April 14, April 21, April 28

,Take an educational stroll with Arboretum Director, Jan Sievers Mahon, during this most exciting and beautiful time of year. Learn about spring ephemerals and where to find them in the Arboretum! Free event, limited spaces available, pre-registration required. Meet at the Frances Plecker Education Center.

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Sound Yoga Series

Wednesdays, 12 PM - 1 PM | April 14, April 21, April 28, May 5

$19/Class or $70 Full Series

The perfect mid-day pick me up! Join E-RYT Connie Magee for a flowing yoga practice and gong bath on the Ernst Tree Terrace (patio adjacent to the Frances Plecker Education Center) at the Arboretum. This all-levels flow will open your body, align your energy and send you into the rest of your day with a blissful smile. Bring a yoga mat, any props you like to work with (yoga blocks, blanket for Savasana), water bottle and a willingness to evolve. All sessions include breathwork.

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Virtual Garden Lecture: Pollinator Gardens

With Dr. Amy Goodall, Associate Professor, Geographic Science

Wednesday, April 14th | 12 - 1 PM | $12

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Spring Celebration Plant Sale

April 23 - April 30 | 9 AM - 3 PM

*Not open on Sunday, 4/25*

Location: Ernst Tree Terrace (at Frances Plecker Education Center)

Come celebrate spring here at the Arboretum! Shop from a wide array of native plants, perennials, shrubs and trees!

Online orders for pickup begin:

Arboretum Members | Thursday, April 15 and Public | Monday, April 19

Parking available in Arboretum lots and JMU Lot R5