Monday, June 14, 2010

Why Wait? Play Outside With Us Today!

Situated in one most botanically diverse and beautiful natural settings in America, exploring The North Carolina Arboretum’s 434-acre campus is more than just a weekend activity; it’s an experience that renews the senses and infuses the mind and body with a connection to nature that lasts a lifetime.

From hiking and biking trails and garden exploration to engaging interactive programs and exhibits, the Arboretum offers rejuvenating activities for all ages and abilities.

Remember Nature?
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you have fond memories of playing outdoors as a child. Maybe you loved to ride your bicycle, swim, play in the woods, skateboard, meet friends for games at local parks and playgrounds, or just hang out in your tree fort. Can you imagine childhood memories without nature?

For the average American born in the last 20 years, childhood without nature is not only possible, it’s the norm. Studies show that children today typically spend only four to seven minutes in unstructured outdoor play. Instead of playing outdoors, the average child spends more than seven hours in front of an electronic screen.1

Nature’s positive effects on health have been well documented, and the Arboretum’s K-12 Academic Programs offer classes rooted in outdoor learning opportunities – providing some youths with their first childhood memories of nature. These memories are fond and long-lasting, and many youths come back every year for camps and field trips. Some youths even request to have their birthday parties at the Arboretum so they can share what they learned with friends and family.

Nature’s Path to Health
Stress-reduction, improved mood, and increased physical health are all results of nature’s positive impact on well-being that have been proven time and again in research studies. Visitors of all ages to The North Carolina Arboretum get to know nature and its benefits through diverse recreational activities.

As more Americans focus on healthy living and healthy aging, The North Carolina Arboretum has experienced increased visitation and program participation. From tai chi classes, hiking and biking, and nature walks to engaging exhibits, garden strolls, and art installations, the Arboretum cultivates personal connections between people and nature. Ample opportunities to recreate and connect with nature at the Arboretum are waiting:

• Refresh and grow in mind with engaging programs, exhibits and events
• Attend to physical health by exploring more than 10 miles of hiking and biking trails
• Renew your senses and explore more than 65 acres of cultivated gardens
• Connect with nature through wildlife watching and Discovery Day Packs
• Expand your relationship to nature’s art by exploring the Arboretum’s Art Walk

The North Carolina Arboretum is YOUR natural treasure. So why wait? Come play outdoors with us today!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Birds of a Feather: We're a Great Spot for Birding!

You’ve probably seen bright and whimsical birds if you’ve ever been hiking or biking at The North Carolina Arboretum, strolling through the gardens, or watching nature from the rocking chairs near the Savory Thyme CafĂ©.

But did you know that we’re an official birding site of the North Carolina Birding Trail?

We’re host to countless and diverse bird species, which is what helped us become part of the Birding Trail. People from across the country – some even from across the globe – visit the Arboretum's 434 acres to catch a glimpse of the birds that visit our campus.

This spring the male goldfinches have their bright yellow color back, and have been a prominent feature at the bird feeders.

On a short stroll through the core gardens you’re likely to see Northern Mockingbirds perched high atop trees, Brown Thrashers and Eastern Towhees rooting for insects below shrubs and amongst flowers, and the occasional Northern Cardinal, Song Sparrow and Chipping Sparrow singing loudly.

Along our trails many of our woodland warblers have returned, according to K-12 Academic Coordinator Jonathan Marchal. So far he’s heard Hooded Warblers, Ovenbirds and Northern Parula.

The NC Birding Trail provides a database of sightings and ways to submit your own sightings, which can be an exciting and relaxing recreational activity. Through its work, the Birding Trail connects birders and bird watching sites like the Arboretum with communities, businesses and other local historical and educational organizations.

Bird watching is an engaging activity during every season at the Arboretum! In fact, photographer Michael Oppenheim captured this image in late fall – can you guess what kind of bird it is?

Send your guess by July 8 to and enter a chance to win a free Day Pass from The North Carolina Arboretum!