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Photo by Kellen McCluskey

Thursday, November 17

Soup 'n Walk Saturday

A few spots are available in Saturday's Autumn Harvest Soup 'n Walk. Following a guided walk to look for nutritious berries, nuts, and seeds and to check for signs of beaver, we'll adjourn to the Visitor's Center for a delicious and healthy lunch. All gift shop purchases will be 20% off on Saturday. This is the year's final Soup 'n Walk program! Click here to join us.

Photo by Kellen McCluskey

So Long, and Thanks for All the Nibbles

After ten years of having a resident goat herd at the Arboretum, it is time for our beloved and hard-working goats to have some relaxation. Our seasoned goat herd is retiring from Adkins Arboretum, and we have arranged for them to live at a farm where they can rest and eat to their hearts' content.


Over the last decade, these lovely ladies have helped the Arboretum clear roughly 600,000 square feet of invasives and brambly edges. The goats came to the Arboretum as part of a targeted grazing program, which allowed goats to do what they do best and guided them to do so in areas that needed to be cleared of invasive vines and shrubs. As our herd is getting older, we will continue in their stead and use natural and alternative methods to steward the native landscape.


We want to thank the generous donors, Eagle Scouts, and caregivers who ensured our goat herd was well cared for! And thank you to the many Arboretum visitors who waved and said hello to the goats. They brought many smiles to our faces, and we hope they did the same for you.

Kathy Thornton

Land Steward

Photos by Kellen McCluskey & Kathy Thornton

Leave the Leaves!

Raking and bagging leaves is one of fall's most onerous chores. But what if you could simplify this task AND help wildlife in the process? Many of our favorite creatures—from turtles to chipmunks to Luna moths—depend on a layer of leaves to protect them from winter cold.

Our friends at Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage recently sent a wonderfully informative email about creatures that rely on leaf litter to survive the winter and how we can help them simply by leaving the leaves in our landscapes. Click here to learn more.

Join Us for Holiday Programs & Events

Some wonderful programs and events are on tap to help you ring in the holiday season!

Wreath Decorating Workshops

Tuesday, November 29

Work with Caitlin Fisher to craft a holiday wreath that is unique to you! We'll supply all materials, hot chocolate, and festive music; you just need to bring your creativity. Cait is a farmer and writer who is passionate about conservation, local culture, and responsible agriculture. Register for one of two sessions: 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. 

Holiday Card Collage

Tuesday, December 6, 10 a.m.–noon

Join Diane DuBois Mullaly to create a beautiful card inspired by nature and created using upcycled junk mail, torn and cut paper, and scissors and glue. All materials are provided, and hot beverages and cookies will be served. Register here. 

Holiday Open House

Saturday and Sunday, December 3 & 4

This weekend only, receive a 20% discount on all gift items and a discount on memberships. With our unique selection of books, jewelry, toys, art, pottery, and more, you're sure to find something for everyone on your list. While you're here, relax with coffee, tea, and homemade cookies. Click here to learn what's new in the gift shop.

American Bittern Redux (and a Typo)

The American Bittern continues to amaze observers with its apparent disregard for people, dogs, four-year-old grandsons, and mountain lions. Well, maybe not mountain lions. American Bitterns are supposed to be secretive, freeze when startled, and inhabit dense marshes. This bird is not following its modus operandi. This is all to the benefit of the numerous bird watchers who have visited Adkins with their big camera lenses, which they absolutely did not need because the bird was sometimes within five feet of them. Also, the rain did not stop the birding paparazzi from showing up. (If you missed last week's piece about the Bittern that has staked its claim in the Arboretum wetland, click here to get up to speed.)

Photos by Kellen McCluskey & Ginna Tiernan

One photographer (who wishes to remain anonymous) spent more than three hours snapping pictures...a whopping 698 photos! She did capture a stunning close-up of its foot, which is deformed but does not hurt its ability to hunt.

I have been asked why the Bittern is at Adkins and why it is sticking around. My best guess is the abundance and easy access to food. Another question is how long it will stay. American Bitterns spend the winter on Maryland's Eastern Shore. This bird could be at the Arboretum all winter, until the food supply goes away, or until someone's four-year-old grandson finally gets its attention.

The Typo: In last week's article, a typo snuck in. One of the bird's first finders was Nancy Stewart (not Nancy Steward). Our apologies. I have also learned that Beth Lawton was another first finder.

In the photo above, the Bittern is making a meal of a fat tadpole.

Nancy Stewart's husband, Scott Smith, is a herpetologist, and he

shared this information about tadpoles:

Bullfrogs (native to the U.S.) take about 1½ years to mature (metamorphose). Farther north (like Michigan), they can take 3 years to mature. Who knew!

Photo by Kellen McCluskey

Please contact me at with any questions.

Jim Wilson

Birder/Arboretum volunteer

Looking Ahead

Yarnstorming is back for 2023! For the fourth year running, the Arboretum is partnering with local yarn artists and the Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore (FACES) to create a whimsical and exciting visual experience in the trees around the Arboretum Visitor’s Center. The bright colors and whimsical designs will be on view March 5 through April 2, 2023.

Knitters and crocheters are invited to decorate an Arboretum tree with their creations. Email Jenny Houghton to participate and to select your tree.

Ring in the new year by learning a new form of artistic expression. Join Judy M. Thomas for Exploring Colored Pencil I, a two-part class on January 28 and 29.

You'll learn the basics of colored pencils, including tools and materials, how to approach a drawing, color mixing and blending, using solvents, incising, methods for lifting color, and finishing a piece.

Participants must have basic drawing skills. Advance registration is required, as class size is limited to 12. Click here to register.

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