Nature’s Calendar Tours

March 29th, 2012 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

Fawn Lily (Erythronium oregonum) on Foster Island

As of February, we’ve started offering our Weekend Walks every Sunday at 1pm. These guided tours are free and open to the public, are 90 minutes in length, and leave from the Graham Visitors Center. Each month we choose a different theme to talk about. The following is a description of April’s theme written by Catherine Nelson, the newest addition to the UWBG Education & Outreach team.

Have you ever dissected a flower to see what they are made of and how pollination really works? Have you ever visited our Pollination Garden to learn about and observe our most over-worked and under-appreciated staff members (from a safe distance of course)? Are you curious about what’s going on in the soil this time of year? Or do you just want to see some amazing spring bloomers on display here in the Washington Park Arboretum and perhaps learn a bit on the way?

Our theme for April’s Weekend Walks is “Nature’s Calendar”. During these tours, we will be focusing on phenology, the study of recurring plant and animal life cycle events (or phenophases). Phenophases include budburst, leafing & flowering, maturation of seeds, emergence of insects & pollinators, and migration of birds. The term phenology comes from the Greek word phaino meaning “to show” or  “appear”.

Spring is the perfect time to be in the WPA looking for various phenophases, and during our “Nature’s Calendar” tours guides will take visitors on a leisurely walk in search of the early flowering trees and shrubs in our collection and discuss what is happening during this phenologically active time of year.

We hope you join us!