Newsletter of the Foundation of the State Arboretum                 Spring 2019
Join Us for Preview Night Friday, May 10
FOSA members will receive an invitation to join us for Garden Fair Preview Night Friday, May 10, from 5-7:30 p.m.

Members enjoy first pick of Garden Fair plants at Preview Night, as well as music, refreshments, and free admission to Garden Fair all weekend long.

Preview Night admission is $30 per person in advance, or $40 after May 3 or at the door. Reserve your Preview Night admission online anytime.

Not a member? Join FOSA now and begin a Mother's Day tradition!
30th Annual Garden Fair is May 11-12
Be Good to Your Mother,
Bring Her to Garden Fair!

Virginia's best garden party returns for its 30th season as Garden Fair marks Mother's Day Weekend, May 11 & 12, from 9 to 4 both days.

Garden Fair is the Foundation of the State Arboretum's largest and most important annual fundraiser. More than 70 vendors will offer native plants, small trees, herbs, annuals, perennials, berry bushes, boxwood, and much more. Fine items for home and garden and several food booths will also be among the vendor lineup.

FOSA members will receive an email invitation to Preview Night, Friday, May 10, from 5-7:30 p.m. (See details at left.)

 Garden Fair proceeds support programs and events all year long. It's a great way to support your Arboretum and find some new additions for your garden and landscape.

Admission is $15 per carload, but you can save $5 by paying online in advance through the Foundation's secure online payment site. Click on special event parking.

Garden Fair Pros Know...

Early Birds Save $5!
Plan to Attend FOSA's Annual Meeting June 1
Members to Elect New Directors, Appoint New Slate of Officers
Foundation of the State Arboretum members, mark your calendars!  The FOSA Annual Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, June 1, in the Blandy library.

Along with the annual business meeting, the schedule will include several fact-filled (and fun-filled!) sessions, including "Are Your Trees and Shrubs Ready for Summer?" and "What's New with the Arboretum's Collection: An Insider's Look."

Watch for more details! 

Cornus officinalis in bloom just east of the Quarters, a cheerful sign of spring.

Sketch Group, Photo Club Partner for Spring Show
Work Will Be on Display During Garden Fair
Summer Fields by Donna Brune
The Blandy Sketch Group and the Blandy Photo Club will host a combined show of their work this spring, the first time the two groups have held a show together. The show will open May 9 and run through Aug. 1.

Each group hosts an annual show, but members decided to partner for a show this spring to take advantage of cross-promotion and increase awareness of both groups.

The Sketch Group formed in 2000 among a group of artists who had recently taken art classes at Blandy. Their purpose was to continue to meet together monthly at Blandy to improve their skills and encourage each other's talents while being inspired by the natural beauty of the Arboretum. The group continues to grow and flourish within the Arboretum surroundings. 

They meet the first Thursday of each month at 12:30.  For more information on the Blandy Sketch Group visit or email

The Blandy Photo Club meets the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Blandy library.

The Photo Club began meeting in 2008 and includes a range of ages and experience levels. Monthly meetings feature a speaker or program on topics of interest to photographers. Members get to share their work during regular Member Showcase sessions, with fellow photographers offering feedback and shooting tips.

For more information email
It's About Time!
Arrival of Flowers, Birds, and Programs Means Spring is Here
By Steve Caroll
Director of Public Programs

Click the image to see the complete spring program brochure.
Our spring public program series began March 1, but there are still plenty of programs, tours, and workshops coming your way.
Our first three April programs focus on plants. On April 6, naturalist and educator Chris Anderson will share her knowledge of the use of plants by Native Americans; this program is cosponsored by Sustainability Matters and is full as we go to press, with a waiting list.
Marion Lobstein and Sally Anderson will offer their always-popular plant identification workshop April 11 and 12. Though there is space available as we go to press, this workshop generally fills up.
On Saturday, April 13, we will explore plants in a very different way when photographer Jackie Bailey Labovitz shows us the beauty of spring wildflowers. She will begin in the library with an illustrated introduction. We'll then walk through the Native Plant Woodland where mounted photos will be installed next to their real counterparts. This presentation is made possible through funding from the Botanical Artists for Education and the Environment.
Other spring highlights include a pruning workshop (April 23), a trip to see Thompson Wildlife Management Area's sea of trilliums (May 3), and a program on poetry in nature (May 14); this program is presented in cooperation with The Sow's Ear Poetry Review, Valley Educational Center for the Creative Arts, and Sustainability Matters. And of course we'll include always-popular guided walking meditation and arboretum tours, including under the gibbous moon.
As our final spring program, presented with the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum and Handley Regional Library, we offer our fifth science café May 29. Dr. Kirk Havens, from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, will give an illustrated talk on the growing problem of plastic pollution in the oceans. Note: this will be in the backroom of Brewbaker's Restaurant (168 N. Loudoun St., Winchester). Expect door prizes and trivia, and food and drinks will be available for purchase throughout the program.
Add to all this the monthly meetings of the Blandy Book Club, Photo Club, and Sketch Group and there should be something for everyone! Click here for program details and registration. Don't delay-several programs have limited seating.

Help Wanted: Volunteer Docents Needed to Lead Tours
Share Your Knowledge and Experience With Blandy Visitors

Do you love walking Blandy's trails? Would you like to share what you know with visitors and tour groups? If so, why not join us this spring and become an arboretum docent?

Training sessions began Thursday, March 28, but if you are interested please let us know asap and we'll get you started. Meetings are Thursdays from 2-4 p.m. (March 28-April 25). In these sessions, Blandy staff will guide you through topics typically covered during tours, including Blandy history, arboretum organization, collections and gardens, natural history, and more. Most tours include questions about our gardens and trees, so those wishing to lead or co-lead tours should be willing to learn about the amazing plants in our collections. Of course, knowledge of history, wildlife, geology, ecology, and related areas are pluses.

In addition to arboretum tours and walks that are open to the public, we also receive dozens of tour requests each year from garden clubs; horticulture and nature centers; service, church, and scout groups; and others. We accommodate as many requests as possible, but we need help!

Please consider joining us in our efforts to share Blandy's landscape and beauty with as many people as possible.

If interested in participating, or if you'd like more information, please contact Steve Carroll at 540-837-1758 Ext. 287 or
Spring Gardening Season Begins 
April 2

Join Us to Volunteer in the Gardens 9 a.m.-Noon
The 2019 gardening season gets under way at the  Arboretum beginning April 2, weather permitting. Shake off the winter blues by joining us in the gardens!

Judy Kinter is all smiles as she helps in the iris garden.
Here's the tentative schedule:

Herb Garden, Tuesdays starting April 2
Native Plant Trail, Wednesdays starting April 3
Perennial Garden, Thursdays starting April 4

No experience is necessary, and we'll provide tools. Come meet new friends, learn new skills, and put your expertise to work. You'll see why we say "We grow more than just plants!"

New gardeners should contact Koy Mislowsky, Volunteer Coordinator, at 540-837-1758 Ext. 246 or, before the first gardening session.
Sign Up Now!
Kids Become Scientists at Blandy Summer Nature Camp 

By Steve Carroll
Director of Public Programs
As spring heats up and the plants and animals around us become more active, it's time for us to spend more time outside. One great way to do that is to enroll your children or grandchildren in Summer Nature Camp at Blandy.
We will offer three amazing weeks of science activities, nature exploration, games, crafts, and an opportunity to learn from group leaders, undergraduate researchers, and university scientists! Our first two camps, for rising 2nd-4th graders, cater to our younger scientists. Our third camp, for rising 5th-8th graders, is more investigative, with participants asking a question and completing a field study to answer their question.
Summer may seem far off, but registration for summer camp is already under way. Space is limited-don't delay!
Art in Nature & Nature in Art
June 24-26, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
For rising 2nd-4th graders
In this three-day camp we immerse ourselves in the beauty around us as we seek inspiration in the natural world. Campers will create large and small works of art, make music, and explore nature through stories, games, and skits.
Green Adventures
July 8-12, 9 a.m.-Noon
For rising 2nd-4th graders
We will discover how people affect the environment, learn to minimize our impact, and practice earth-friendly tips and techniques. We'll become savvy stewards of the earth while having fun in nature. Come explore with us!
July 15-19, 9 a.m.-Noon
For rising 5th-8th graders
Did you know Blandy is an ecological field research station? This means we have scientists in residence conducting field-based research. EcoExplorers work in pairs to carry out their very own research project! Under the guidance of our staff, they identify a question, design a field experiment, and collect and analyze data. On Friday, our young scientists present their results to campers, Blandy staff, and family members.
Blandy's Summer Nature Camps offer a unique opportunity for kids to have fun while working side-by-side with teachers, university students, and scientists in a remarkable and beautiful setting.
See us on Facebook (Blandy Summer and Winter Nature Camp) for photos, descriptions, and updates. Visit under "Programs & Events" for details and a link to the registration page. Space is limited, so register early. For camp details and information on scholarships call 540-837-1758 Ext. 287.
Assistant Curator Kim Strader Retires from Blandy
20-Year Career Leaves a Legacy in the Native Plant Trail

By T'ai Roulston
Kim Strader, Assistant Curator of the Native Plant Trail, is retiring after nearly 20 years at Blandy. Starting as a curatorial aid in 1999, she worked alongside a loyal, reliable, and indefatigable group of volunteers to maintain the herbaceous gardens and develop the Nancy Larrick Crosby Native Plant Trail (NPT) as it came into existence. In 2008, her position was split into two, one dedicated to the herbaceous gardens and one focused on the NPT. She went native and spent the remainder of her time at Blandy managing, developing, and interpreting the three sections of the NPT (woodland, meadow, and wetland). She quickly became our ambassador for native plants, informing the public of their ecological and horticultural value.
Kim Strader
The Arboretum is known for its beauty, and many people come just to walk through the landscape. But many also come to learn, and Kim really made an effort to provide interpretive information for visitors. She started with lots of plant labels, then little signs with ecological information to accompany the plants. While admiring the beauty of a trillium flowering in the understory, she'd hijack your attention to let you know how the seeds are dispersed (they are carried by ants that like the lipid-rich structure attached to the seeds). As Kim's own knowledge increased, she quickly shared it, and soon the trail was a trail of knowledge. In spring when the forest floor is ablaze in flowers, her signs lead you through their little stories.
Although Kim and her volunteers always aimed to maintain the trail, that didn't necessarily mean that nature's interruptions were viewed as problems. A tree topples over dead? Hmm. Where did it fall? How does it look there? Will kids like it? Can it tell a story? She created a whole area dedicated to dead plants --Dead Tree Hollow-- to show how important dead plants are to the lives of other living things, from insects to birds. Her approach with interpretation has always been creative. Rather than just provide an all-year guide to the flowers of the meadow, she created a seasonal seek-n-find trail, challenging you to find these plants with a guide you pick up at one end of the trail and leave at the other.
Kim will clearly be missed here, but her handiwork could not be more evident. There is the trail itself, a long legacy left for the next visitors to encounter. There are her extensive records of all the plants she's propagated and planted, what happened to them, which failed and which took over, and which ones actually cooperated. And there are her beautiful, colorful maps showing the location of every tree and shrub, the places where the perennials will come back, a map of what is. And there is the map of what will come. Where to tell future stories of medicinal plants, and plant defenses, and insects overcoming plant defenses. And so the next person stepping into the position will find a wonderful place to start, a beloved trail and a group of volunteers with enthusiasm, spunk, personal knowledge and institutional knowledge, and a roadmap to the future. Good luck, Kim! And thank you for all of your hard work!

Arboretum Petiquette: Teach Your Pet Proper Manners
Please Use Our Pet Waste Disposal Stations
Blandy appreciates our many visitors who come here on a regular basis to enjoy our grounds with their canine companions.

Blandy is one of the very few public places in our area that permits dogs to be off leash on parts of the property.

We recognize how much dog owners value this rare privilege, and we are grateful that they are working with us in observing the leash restrictions (anywhere within 200 yards of our buildings) that make our overall policy possible. Also, pet waste stations are located near the main parking lot, and at some loop drive stops. Please pick up and dispose of pet waste properly.

Our goal is to ensure a safe, enjoyable, and educational experience for all of our visitors, including those with four legs.

See our website for a full description of Blandy's pet policy.
A 'Natural' Fit
Va. Master Naturalists Blend Well With Blandy Mission

By David Carr
Director, Blandy Experimental Farm
This spring marks the 12th year that Blandy has hosted the Shenandoah Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist program. The Shenandoah Chapter covers Clarke, Frederick, Warren, Shenandoah, and Page counties and is one of 30 chapters statewide. The Master Naturalist program takes students through a diversity of classroom and hands-on field experiences, ranging from geology and soils to insect and birds, from reptiles and amphibians to nature interpretation and land use.
This year's Master Naturalist class began meeting in the Blandy library on March 16. The class will meet weekly thereafter on Wednesday nights through May 22, with field trips on most Saturdays. Blandy provides not only the classroom setting, but many of the Blandy faculty and staff regularly provide lectures for the course as well. This year T'ai Roulston (Curator) provides the entomology lecture. Steve Carroll (Director of Public Programs) and FOSA's own Sally Anderson lecture on botany. Candace Lutzow-Felling (Director of Education) lectures on ecology, and I go on and on about ornithology. Emily Ford (Lead Environmental Educator) and Lilian Ledford (Environmental Educator) are both alumnae of the program and now conduct the introductory lecture and the class on macroinvertebrates and freshwater ecology. They both also serve on Master Naturalist volunteer and education committees.
Blandy Lead Environmental Educator Emily Ford (center) assists students as they learn about wetland ecology at Blandy.
The high level of participation of Blandy faculty and staff in the Master Naturalist program reflects the perfect match in the missions of our two organizations. Driven by volunteerism, the program provides educational opportunities for members, and the members provide outreach and service to their communities. The focus of the program is on the natural history, natural resources, and natural areas of the Commonwealth.
Similar to the highly successful Master Gardener program, students must complete 8 hours of advanced training and provide 40 hours of community service. The local chapters help match students with volunteer and outreach opportunities. In 2018, 411 students graduated from the basic training program statewide, bringing the total membership to 3,429. The 190,304 hours of volunteer service provided by Master Naturalists is valued at more than $5 million. Recent Shenandoah Chapter projects have included setting camera traps and identifying mammal photos in the eMammal project, monitoring invertebrates and water quality along the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, and surveying plants, pollinators, and birds with the Smithsonian's Virginia Working Landscapes. Chapter graduates even give back to Blandy by volunteering in our public programs and Pre-K-12 education programs.
The Shenandoah Chapter class is full for 2019, but registration for the 2020 class (about 20 slots) will begin in December. It is a great way to broaden your skills as a naturalist, meet other like-minded people, and channel your energy and expertise into a productive organization.