N° 184 — January 31, 2024

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

Kevin Conrad standing in the National Herb Garden in 1995. Photo from the U.S. National Arboretum.

Arboretum Retirement

Kevin Conrad, Acting Supervisory Horticulturist, retired earlier this month after 32 years of service to the National Arboretum. He wore many hats during his career at the Arboretum. He served as curator of the Asian Collections and the Holly and Magnolia Collections, manager of the Herbarium collections, curator of the Woody Landscape Plant Germplasm Repository, and most recently Acting Supervisory Horticulturist. Kevin also went on numerous plant collection trips to China and throughout North America to gather germplasm for the Arboretum and other American garden institutions.

Kevin readily and enthusiastically shared his passion for plants and the Arboretum with all. FONA is grateful for the plant and institutional knowledge he has shared with our team over the years. We particularly appreciate the support he has provided to FONA’s garden team in the Washington Youth Garden, and the many tours of the Arboretum that he has led for friends and supporters.

We will miss seeing Kevin on a regular basis at the Arboretum, but we are excited that he will remain involved as a part-time advisor to Arboretum staff. We are incredibly thankful for all that Kevin has done for the National Arboretum, and we wish him well in retirement.

Kevin Conrad giving a tour of the National Arboretum's flowering cherry trees to FONA supporters in 2023.

Last Chance to Apply

Don't miss your chance to join FONA's team! Applications close early next week for two full-time positions:

Volunteer Coordinator & Garden Educator >

This full-time permanent position will support FONA's volunteer efforts and youth programs at our Washington Youth Garden. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, apply no later than February 1, 2024.

School Garden Support Educator >

This full-time year-long position will support the School Garden Support team's work in DC partner schools. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, apply no later than February 5, 2024.

DC Gardening Events

There are two upcoming events in DC that we don't want you to miss! Both are related to gardening and environmental education, and provide great resources and opportunities to learn. Plus, stop by the FONA table at each event and say hello to our team!

DC Teachers Night is a free event for teachers to connect with environmental organizations that offer educational experiences like field trips, professional development opportunities, and classroom resources. This year's event will be held on Thursday, February 29th from 6 PM to 8 PM at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Registration is required for this free event.

Register for DC Teachers Night >

Photo from Friends of the U.S. Botanic Garden

Rooting DC is a free, day-long urban gardening forum. This event provides education about urban agriculture, food systems, health, and the environment through workshops, panel discussions, demonstrations, and an Information Fair. This year's event will be held on Saturday, March 9th from 9 AM to 4 PM at Anacostia High School. Registration is required for this free event, and opens on Thursday, February 1st at 8 AM.

Register for Rooting DC >

Join Our Next Chapter

With the new year underway, and we are writing a new chapter in FONA's story. We invite you to be a part of this new chapter by considering a legacy gift to FONA.

A legacy gift, also known as a planned gift or bequest, is a donation designated in your will or trust. These gifts are instrumental to the success of FONA and make our mission possible. Our partner, FreeWill, offers an easy online tool for you to make or update your will in 20 minutes or less, completely free of charge.

You do not have to make a legacy gift to any nonprofit in order to use FreeWill. By offering this resource for free, we hope members of our community can feel safe and secure when recording their wishes.

If you choose to make a legacy gift, you will also become a member of FONA's Heritage Society. This is a dedicated group of individuals who share a love of plants, nature, and the outdoors.

Create Your Will Today >

Upcoming Events

Native Plant Sale

Saturday, March 23

Local native plant vendors

Save the date — details to come

37th Annual Lahr Native Plant Symposium

Saturday, March 23

Native plant symposium hosted by the National Arboretum

Save the date — details to come

Spring into School Gardening

Saturday, March 23

Free resources for educators, in WYG

Save the date — details to come

Flowering 5K

Sunday, March 24

Run or walk through collections in bloom

(Members use your discount code)

Details & Registration >

Garden Fair & Plant Sale

Saturday, April 27

Plants, vendors, and activities

Save the date — details to come

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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