Summer 2018

Dear Friends of the Arboretum,

Summer is a beautiful season to experience the Arboretum. The forest canopy is lush and green and is by far the coolest outdoor location in Harrisonburg on a hot day. Berries are ripening, flowers are exploding open in the sunny gardens, and visitors are finding the many places to explore and ways to enjoy the fullness of summer's bounty.

Thanks, to all of our devoted fans the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum at JMU was once again voted the Best Place to Relax AND the Best Place to Propose! We hope that you agree.

Late spring floods (4 in one week and 5 in two weeks-yikes!), brought many people out with cameras in May and June to view the high water and the effects that such a force brings with it. As devastating as such flooding is to Arboretum staff, nature is totally resilient and does a better job adapting to the high water, that draws back down within 24 hours, than we humans do. The good news is that the stadium didn't flood so the storm detention services that the Arboretum provide for campus worked, there is a new layer of nutrient-rich sediment on the landscape beds, and we hadn't yet planted our annuals on the lawn so they were not impacted by the mess. Nevertheless, it is a huge endeavor to transform the sepia tone tinted landscape back to a full-color explosion of color, and the summer staff this year exhibited extreme patience and determination in repeating the process many times in two weeks. We give thanks for their efforts, and for your patience as we continue the cleaning and repair process throughout the summer in several areas!

(Photo via Jacob Mountcastle)

A new endeavor this summer, funded by the Arboretum and the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society, has commenced. All of the rhodies and azaleas growing here will be located with a GPS system and mapped using ARC-GIS so that we can be sure to identify all of the rhododendrons in the collection and know exactly where to find each plant on our inventory collection spreadsheet. JMU Biology and VA Tech forestry student, Brooke Thompson, has begun and will continue on the grounds for a month-late June through July-gathering data and transforming it into maps. Many thanks to the MAC-ARS members for their support of this project!

Have you seen our newly re-designed website? Please be sure to check out the clean and user-friendly format. Share your feedback and ideas with us! We've also added a new membership page that lays out everything you need to know about becoming a 'Friend of the Arboretum', take a look!

May your long days and hot afternoons find you on the trails here breathing in the forest air and enjoying the expansiveness of the season. Cheers for summer!

~ Jan Sievers Mahon, Arboretum Director

Arboretum Trail Scout Program

The Arboretum’s Trail Scout program is up and running and you can join in!

The idea for having a team of volunteers who could help be our eyes-on-the-ground has been germinating for several years, but never really took root, with some starts and stops. Our staff of two is small and there task list is long and deep....they can’t always be covering the entire 125 acres of property, taking note of problems or spotting new populations of invasive species. Trail Scouts are invaluable as extra sets of eyes and hands, who can spot issues and tackle them in the moment on their own, or bring them to the attention of the landscape crew when needed.

Our new four trail scouts – Mark Briehl, Dave Forrer, Burt Blessing and Craig Chandler, received a crash course on the invasive species found in the arboretum and learned about a number of ongoing projects that they can contribute their many hands to. Besides rooting out garlic mustard, burning bush, and other invasives, they will be monitoring our Chestnut plantings, pruning damaged plants, clearing undergrowth to prevent crowding, and be on the lookout for tree and trail damage. When the rains came in late May, and the arboretum flooded four times in one week, we were relieved when the trail scouts took it upon themselves to show up on-site and help with some very messy clean up.

As our first trail scouts gain experience, we will look to them to train others and organize work sessions together; enabling the group to tackle larger projects. And the program is also suited for those who want to be able to come in and help out after-hours or on weekends on their own. Trail scouts, and all of our regular community volunteers, receive a number of benefits once they complete 50 hours of service, including invitations to special events and complimentary Friends of the Arboretum Membership, with all of its associated discounts.

For more information about volunteering, visit our website or contact volunteer coordinator Janis Traas, 540-568-3194 or traasjm@jmu.edu.

Explorer Camp

We had a wonderful time this week with our campers! Already looking forward to next year!

Arboretum Backpack Program

We're excited to introduce the Arboretum Backpack Program! This program lends out educational, themed backpacks for children at no charge. Each backpack explores a different topic and helps guide parents and children through a self-directed, educational experience during their visit to the Arboretum.

How it Works

1. Visit the Frances Plecker Education Center (FPEC) to sign out a backpack of your choice:

- Reptiles & Amphibians

- Flowers

- Exploring Trees

- Forest Mammals

- Butterflies

- Insects

- Macroinvertebrate Study

2. Leave a driver's license with us at the FPEC, to be picked up after the backpack is returned.

3. Enjoy the backpack's activities and adventure onward!

Thank you for your kind words!

"The arboretum is beautiful, informative, and very well cared for! We love visiting." ~ Molly

"What a great place to see many native plant species of Virginia, and best of all it's absolutely free to visit.. great for a picnic spot or take the kids. Lots of trails and a creek and pond with much to see. If you are in Harrisonburg definitely put this on your schedule of things to do and see" ~ Michael

"Nice little spot of "wild" in the middle of Harrisonburg." ~ Christina

Congratulations to our Photo Contest Winners!

April Winner - Melanie Spalding
May Winner - Tony DeStefano

How to Submit

Curious about our Monthly Photo Contest but have yet to participate? It's so easy! Message us through our Facebook page with up to 3 high resolution images that you took right here in the Arboretum during the current month!

Upcoming Events


Summer Brown Bag Lunch Series

Bring your lunch, join us for a new guest speaker each week!

Wednesdays | 12 - 1 PM

6/27 | From Monticello to Your Backyard: Growing Your Own Historic Garden

Speaker, Sari Carp | Frances Plecker Education Center

7/11 | The Feltmaker's Journey, Passion and Process

Artist, Dabney Kirchman | Frances Plecker Education Center

7/18 | Edible Wilds

Speaker, Diana Woodall | Pavilion

7/25 | Bird Migration

Speaker, Diane Lepkowski | Frances Plecker Education Center

8/1 | Master Naturalists Info Session

Speaker, Sandy Greene | Pavilion


Storytime in the Understory

Tuesdays | July 10 & August 14 | 11 AM - 12 PM

Stories come to life for young children with animated readings on the second Tuesday of each month this summer, June through August. Young story enthusiasts will develop an understanding of the importance of nature and how healthy environments support health and variety in plant and animal life from children’s literature selections. Bring a picnic blanket or lawn chairs and a picnic lunch to enjoy after our Storytime.

On days when the sun is shining and the temperatures are warm Storytime is held at the Jurney Stage Garden! In the case of inclement weather, storytime comes indoors to the Frances Plecker Education Center. Free, registration required!.


The Big Bug Hunt

Tuesday July 10 | 12 PM - 1 PM

Insects don't bug US here at the EJC Arboretum! Come with us on a scavenger hunt to discover the fascinating insects that call the arboretum home! Learn about the different parts of an insect and how invertebrates, such as spiders and millipedes, are all different. Children of all ages will learn how to make friends with the bugs in their backyard while learning about all types of insects! After our bug hunt, create your own stick bug to take home! Free event , no registration required!

*Severe inclement weather cancels this program*

780 University Blvd Harrisonburg, VA 22807 540.568.3194 | www.jmu.edu/arboretum

Visit us today! Grounds are open free to the public, dawn to dusk, 365 days a year.

The Frances Plecker Ed Center is open Monday-Friday, 8AM-4PM.


Created with images by Pexels - "english oak leaves tree"

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