JOUR 3190: event coverage

State Botanical Gardens of Georgia host Arbor Day “Tree Ramble”

While trees remained dormant and leaves continued to slowly fall, the State of Georgia celebrated its Arbor Day on Feb. 15. 

Berkeley Boone, children’s program manager at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, hosted a “Tree Trail Ramble” to celebrate the occasion, guiding a group of about 10 people down the shade garden trail for an hour-long walk. 

Arbor Day celebrations are seasonal, which explains why states in the Southeast hold them earlier than any other region. During the national Arbor Day on the last Friday in April, it is already too hot for trees in Georgia to be planted as their buds would have already flowered. 

This annual, free event gives attendees a chance to learn about trees, ranging from sycamores with their fleshy, colored bark to American hazelnuts with their long, worm-like flowers. Boone said he tries to add other elements to his presentation, such as discussions about native animals or the unique characteristics of the trees. 

“It’s not all about tree identification to me,” Boone said. “I like to just talk about whatever’s out there.”

Tom Shelton, a regular of the botanical garden’s weekly Nature Ramblers group, brought his binoculars in an attempt to spot birds. He was able to point out a red-shouldered hawk’s nest high in a sycamore tree. Although already a nature-enthusiast, Shelton said he can always use more practice in flora and fauna identification. 

“Every time I come out here, especially with somebody like this, I always learn something new,” Shelton said. “Plus the repetition … it eventually sinks in about all these things.” 

Dakia Hargrett from Dacula brought her niece, Ava, in “Flat Stanley” form. “Flat Ava” was positioned in front of a particularly interesting American hophornbeam for a photo. The tree has a gaping hole in the middle splitting the structure in two, its origin of which Boone could not provide an explanation for. 

“That’s the neat thing about trees, they’re going to hold some secrets we’re never going to find out,” Boone said. 

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