N° 66 — August 25, 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.
Slowing Down in DC
How does the National Arboretum fit into a weekend of food, family, and fun in DC? Check out ways Slow Food USA suggests you can connect with local food, the land, and each other through a "Slow Weekend" in Washington, DC.

50 Years of Leadership
The Hill Rag recently reflected on Washington Youth Garden's history and impact in Washington, DC over the past 50 years. From the garden's origins as a DC Parks and Recreation initiative to its current role leading school garden education across DC, half a century of participants, volunteers, and staff have built Washington Youth Garden into what it is today.

Washington Youth Garden has supported garden science education both in the garden and in DC classrooms since 1971.
This year, eight high schoolers participated in our Green Ambassador program's Farm Crew. During this 6-week summer internship, they collectively spent over 800 hours learning the intricacies of garden maintenance, practicing cooking with fresh produce, and creating their own herbal medicine tinctures. They also practiced carpentry skills by building picnic tables and self-watering garden containers.
While Farm Crew teaches technical skills, it also introduces youth to nature helps them be more comfortable outdoors. Christin Riddick, Green Ambassador Program Manager, appreciates how the program allows everyone to find a way to thrive outside, noting "even if you don't like nature, there's something out there for everyone."

We're excited to continue growing the Green Ambassador program and providing DC youth with year-round employment opportunities in food and agriculture.

Volunteer with Us
Want to get your hands dirty and volunteer at Washington Youth Garden? We need some extra hands at our garden at the National Arboretum to help weed, mulch, plant, harvest, and more.

Sign up to learn more about how you can help our Garden Team grow food and support our community with fresh produce. Volunteers work in shifts on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Herbarium Highlights
Dr. Harlan Svoboda, curator of the National Arboretum Herbarium, reports the team's progress on a major digitization project:

"August has been a busy time for the National Arboretum Herbarium. Earlier in the month our 400,000th image was captured on the conveyor system —representing the estimated halfway mark of the herbarium collection! The specimen was Salix cordata Michx. (Salicaceae), a willow collected by Carleton R. Ball in 1902. Dr. Ball was a world-renowned expert of the genus whose massive collection of specimens and archive were bequeathed to the National Arboretum in 1958. The specimen also happens to have been used for an illustration in Britton and Brown’s seminal Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States (1913).
The 400,000th herbarium specimen imaged, Salix cordata (Salicaceae). Photo courtesy of the USNA Herbarium.
"In other exciting news, the Herbarium’s crowdsourcing project has officially launched! This platform, called Heritage Helpers, enables the public to help with our digitization effort by allowing anyone, anywhere, at any time to transcribe specimen label data into a digital format. This portion is critical in making our 'virtual herbarium' more accessible. We need your help to make it happen — you can register and participate in this historic project. Detailed transcription instructions are provided, and I will also give training sessions soon — stay tuned!"

Outdoor Events
Run with us on Saturday, October 9th for a fall 5K run through the grounds of the National Arboretum. Tickets are $30 (20% off for FONA members) and include a complimentary Arboretum-themed neck gaiter for the first 200 registrants. There's even a virtual 5K option so you can participate from wherever you are.

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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