N° 173 — November 15, 2023

Enjoy regular updates and insights from FONA, the U.S. National Arboretum, and our award-winning Washington Youth Garden.

Hot off the Press

The USDA Agricultural Research Service released a new Plant Hardiness Zone Map today! This map is based on the average annual extreme winter temperature over 30 years. It is a great tool for gardeners and growers to use to determine what plants can grow well in a given area. This new map is more accurate than the 2012 edition and was designed for easy use — just type in a zip code to find that area's plant hardiness zone.

We want to give a special shoutout to the National Arboretum's own Dr. Todd Rounsaville, who worked on a team of climate scientists, statisticians, IT and data specialists, and horticulturists to update this map. Dr. Rounsaville is a horticulturist who leads the Arboretum's Germplasm Program.

Check Out the New Map >

Dr. Todd Rounsaville was part of the USDA ARS team that updated the Plant Hardiness Zone Map. Map courtesy of USDA ARS.

David Fairchild Society members stand under a vibrant maple tree on a recent Fall Colors Tour.

Sharing Gratitude

This week, we want to share our gratitude for FONA's David Fairchild Society (DFS) members. This community of individuals is passionate about learning, sharing, and supporting the National Arboretum's and FONA's work.

We particularly enjoyed diving deeper into the Arboretum's collections with DFS members this year. We have hosted five seasonal tours so far this year that were led by Arboretum horticulturists and curators. These tours explored the Arboretum's plant conservation work and impact on the American nursery industry.

The David Fairchild Society is over 100 members strong and still growing. Visit our website or email Claire Alrich to learn more about DFS or to join.

Learn About the David Fairchild Society >

Leave the Leaves

Leaves are falling in droves, but what should you do with them? The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends you skip bagging your leaves for the landfill, and instead leave them in your garden.

Leaves provide an overwintering habitat for wildlife like insects, lizards, frogs, and others that can benefit your garden come springtime. They also create a natural mulch and fertilizer, reduce erosion, and moderate soil temperature and moisture.

Read more from the USDA about how leaves can be used in your yard to maximize their potential.

Read the USDA Article >

Photo by Beth Haubach

Weekend Wrap-up

The Arboretum's fall leaves put on a colorful show this weekend as 422 runners and walkers wound their way through the grounds for our Fall 5K. FONA's 5Ks are an important way we connect people of all ages to health and well-being at the Arboretum. Since our course is closed to cars, it's a safe way for people to explore parts of the Arboretum they might never have seen before.

Please fill out our event survey if you participated in the Fall 5K. We want to continue to improve this event and appreciate all feedback.

Event Survey >

We want to give a huge shoutout to all the volunteers and supporters who helped make this event possible. Many people helped check in racers, hand out t-shirts, and guide participants along the course. We are especially grateful to Your Part Time Controller for coordinating a group of volunteers. Thank you to our race sponsor Abbott Klar Real Estate Group for helping make the Fall 5K possible.

Photo by Beth Haubach

Photo by We BE Walkin'.

Outdoor Corner

On a Saturday morning in late October, over 100 people joined We BE Walkin' and FONA for a hike and yoga session at the Arboretum. We BE Walkin' is a group dedicated to introducing Black and Brown people to the outdoors. The participants walked all throughout the Arboretum and stopped at the Washington Youth Garden, where FONA's Christin Riddick shared about the vegetables and herbs growing there.

FONA was excited to partner with We BE Walkin' for this event. We believe it is important to work with organizations that are focused on building community for people of color outdoors. Watch the video from the event to learn what drives We BE Walkin's founders and why these events are so important to the BIPOC community.

Watch the Video >

Video by Alisa Camacho.

Pre-Order Your Christmas Tree

Don't forget to pre-order your Christmas tree, wreaths, or garlands! FONA's Christmas Tree Sale is coming up on Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 3rd, held from 10 AM to 4 PM each day. While pre-ordering is not required, it guarantees you quality holiday greenery. Trees can be picked up at the Arboretum during the sale, or delivered straight to your home.

Plus, a portion of all sales directly support FONA through this annual fundraiser. When pre-ordering, you must select "Friends of the National Arboretum" as the fundraising partner at checkout to ensure your purchase supports FONA.

Pre-Order Your Tree >

Upcoming Events

Winter Festival

December 2, 10 AM - 4 PM

Holiday market and free family activities

Details & Registration >

Christmas Tree Sale

December 2, 10 AM - 4 PM

December 3, 10 AM - 4 PM

Purchase Christmas trees & holiday greenery

Details & Tree Pre-Order >

Forest Bathing Walks

Various dates and times

Meditation and mindfulness

Upcoming Dates & Registration >

The Arboretum is open every day from 8 AM to 5 PM except December 25th.

Check Our Website for Full Details >

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Friends of the National Arboretum
3501 New York Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002
FONA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization with the mission to preserve and enhance a vibrant public space and support experiential programming that instills a love of plants, nature and the outdoors in all who visit, while promoting the overarching research and education mission of the U.S. National Arboretum.

Since its inception, FONA has helped support the Washington Youth Garden, Capitol Columns, Flowering Tree Walk, horticultural and research internships, restoration of Springhouse Run, and much more.

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