N° 59 — June 23, 2021
Stay in touch as we celebrate Washington Youth Garden's 50th Anniversary. Enjoy our updates and insights from FONA, the U.S. National Arboretum, and WYG.
LGBTQ+ Legacies: Elke Mackenzie
Elke Mackenzie was a botanist and polar explorer who scoured arctic landscapes for lichen during the mid-twentieth century. Her exhaustive collection and description of lichen, primarily from the Stereocaulon genus, remains our greatest understanding of lichen from these harsh environments.

Throughout her career, Elke curated lichen in herbariums around the world and worked as a professor in Argentina. She served as Director of the Farlow Herbarium at Harvard University for 19 years before retiring in 1972.

Elke came out as a transgender woman towards the end of her career. While many of Elke's scientific legacies — including research papers, lichen species, and an algae genus — all reference her former name, Elke often cited herself using her chosen name. As writer Sabrina Imbler notes about Elke, these "fleeting moments of self-citation...illuminate the hopes of someone who, against ease and tradition, did not wish to separate her identity from her research."

Elke Mackenzie was a member of the "Operation Tabarin" Antarctica Expedition in 1944. Photos via British Antarctic Survey
After many months of teamwork and construction, our nine Guild members have completed their community project! Guild members designed and built structures for community fridges throughout DC to protect them from weather and provide more shelf space and amenities for community members. Volunteers with DC Fridge Collective supply these fridges with free food and supplies to help fight food insecurity in DC.

The Guild is a new Green Ambassador Program where past participants of our summer Farm Crew continue developing leadership and professional skills during the academic year. This was our first year running the Guild — we're excited to continue growing the Green Ambassador Program and provide DC youth with year-round employment opportunities in food and agriculture.

Arboretum Activities
Join us Thursday, July 8th from 9 - 11 AM for a forest bathing walk through the National Arboretum. Take in the sweet scent of southern magnolias or bask in the kaleidoscope of crapemyrtle colors during this mindfulness program.

We want all members of our community to connect with nature through our forest bathing program. Our suggested ticket price is $35 ($28 for FONA members), but if this cost is prohibitive please pay what you can.

Join the National Arboretum on Thursday, June 24th at 2 PM for Pressing Matters. This free, virtual event series explores the National Arboretum's herbarium collection.

During the second installment in this series, learn what it takes to prepare, care for, and preserve herbarium specimens that withstand the test of time. National Arboretum Herbarium Curator Dr. Harlan Svoboda will also share exciting ways these specimens are used in research around the world.

Digital image of Pseudotsuga menziesii, or Douglas-fir, from the National Arboretum's Herbarium. Photo from: USNA
Volunteer with WYG
Come volunteer with us! Washington Youth Garden volunteers harvest produce, maintain beds, and build community through their indispensable work. We're excited to welcome them back into WYG this summer.

Register today to attend our next virtual garden orientation on June 30th. After this orientation, volunteers can work in shifts on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Get your hands dirty at our garden at the Arboretum.

From our Friends: FRESHFARM
FRESHFARM's newly released FoodPrints Curriculum is a powerful, free, experiential food education curriculum that connects students to their food.

FoodPrints is made of 63 lessons and spans 9 key themes. Not only do students learn garden science, but they also apply math in the kitchen, explore food culture and social studies, and practice English language arts skills through hands-on reading lessons.

FoodPrints is WYG's main partner implementing our OSSE Healthy Schools Grant. We are creating a professional development program that increases OSSE's capacity to support schools integrate place-based education.

The Arboretum is open every day from 8 AM - 5 PM except December 25th. Some buildings and collections remain closed to ensure visitor and staff safety.
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