Arboretum Programs: Spring 2017

Registration is required for all programs. Please call 860-439-5020 or email

Programs are free for Connecticut College students. 

To make a payment online, go to our secure online registration. Please include program title(s) in the "Item(s) Purchased" line.

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Looking for tours? See the "Visiting the Arboretum" page for more information.

Winter Waterfowl
Saturday, January 28, 9 to 11 a.m.
Robert Askins, Katharine Blunt Professor of Biology
Meet and park at the east end of Benham Avenue (Waterford) just before the railroad tracks.
$10 (free members)
The section of the Thames River from Mamacoke Island to Smith Cove is one of the best spots in eastern Connecticut to see wintering waterfowl. The site includes three coves and two salt ponds that provide important habitat for a variety of ducks that spend the winter in Connecticut. Consequently this site, which is a natural area within the Connecticut College Arboretum, has been designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. During winter, the coves support several waterfowl species plus Bald Eagles, Pied-billed Grebes and American Coots. Dress for the weather. Scopes will be provided.

Tap into Maple Syrup Production
Saturday, February 18, 10 a.m. to noon
Jim Luce, Supervisor of Grounds
Meet in Olin Science Center Lounge.
$10 (free members)
Enjoy time outdoors making one of nature’s sweet treats. Maple syrup starts to run in late winter when temperatures climb above freezing during the day and drop back below freezing at night. Participants will learn how to identify different species of maple trees, install a spile and safely produce syrup.

Hometown Habitat: Stories of Bringing Nature Home
Wednesday, March 1, 6 to 8 p.m.
Meet at Public Library of New London, 63 Huntington Street.
This new documentary film flips the landscaping paradigm by raising awareness about the critical role native plants play in the survival and vitality of local ecosystems. Discussion to follow the 90-minute film.

Experience Essential Oils
Tuesday, March 7, 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Jennifer Pagach, Associate Director of the Goodwin-Niering Center
Meet in Olin Science Center, room 113.
$10 (free members)
Nature has many gifts, and essential oils are an easy and enjoyable way to access the calming and healing power of plants, especially when indoors. This sensory workshop will teach you about the many benefits of essential oils, how they are grown and extracted, and how to use them. Learn how the right botanical oils can support and improve your general wellbeing.

Winter Tree ID
Saturday, March 11, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Mary Villa, Arboretum Curator
Meet in New London Hall, Classroom 101.
It is fairly easy to identify many trees by their leaves but once the leaves have fallen, it can be challenging. This workshop starts indoors with a brief introduction to plant identification using keys. Then we will head outside to look at deciduous, native trees while they are dormant. Observing trees as a whole, with their unique bark and branching patterns, twigs, buds, any leftover fruit and persistent leaves, helps them become recognizable – even during the winter.

Basket Making
Wednesday, March 22, 3 to 6 p.m. (note change from originally published date)
Manuel Lizaralde, Professor of Botany and Anthropology
Meet in New London Hall, Room 222.
$25 ($15 members)
Basket making is an important tradition in the heritage of American Indians. In this workshop, participants will make a basket of traditional design using rattan reeds. Space is limited, register early.

The Art and Science of Pruning
Saturday, April 1, 10 a.m. to noon
Jim Luce, Supervisor of Grounds
Meet in New London Hall, Classroom 101.
$10 (free members)
Trees and shrubs thrive with judicious pruning. This workshop will cover what, when, how and why to prune. Topics covered will include training young trees and shrubs to avoid future problems, renovating overgrown shrubs and pruning hedges. After a brief lecture inside, participants will go outside to view pruning demonstrations on campus plantings.

Grapevine Craft Workshop
Sunday, April 2, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Maggie Redfern, Arboretum Assistant Director and Leigh Knuttel, Horticulturalist
Please register for meeting location
$10 (free members)
After a brief outdoor harvest of dormant winter grapevines, participants will make a unique wreath or rustic basket to take home. You’ll learn which vines to use (and which not) and leave with an easy spring project you can enjoy for years to come. Bring hand pruners and gloves.

Growing Plants from Seed
Wednesday, April 5, 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Maggie Redfern, Arboretum Assistant Director and Leigh Knuttel, Horticulturalist
Meet in New London Hall, Botany Lab, Room 112.
$25 ($15 members)
From annuals and perennials to trees and shrubs, success can be achieved if you understand what triggers germination and the growing process. This workshop is for beginners and those who have been frustrated in past attempts to transform seed to seedling. Students will leave class with a selection of potted seeds.

Full Moon Walk
Monday, April 10, 8 to 9 p.m.
Maggie Redfern, Arboretum Assistant Director
Meet at Arboretum entrance on Williams Street.
Experience the Arboretum in a new light, under the full moon. This tour will explore the Campus and Native Plant Collection. Star gaze as you take in the sights and sounds. Bring your favorite person to watch the moon with and a flashlight.

Orchids for Beginners
Wednesday, April 12, 7 to 9 p.m.
Lydia Pan, Arboretum Volunteer and Leigh Knuttel, Horticulturalist
Meet in New London Hall, Botany Lab, Room 112.
$10 ($5 members)
Growing orchids in your home can be easy and rewarding with their long-lasting flowers. Participants will learn about their light and water requirements, tour the Connecticut College Greenhouse orchid collection, and take part in a repotting demo. Registrants are invited to bring in their own plants to learn how to repot or diagnose plant problems.

Mamacoke Mysteries Revealed
Saturday, April 22, 10 a.m. to noon
Beverly Chomiak, Senior Lecturer in Geology and ES
Meet and park at the east end of Benham Avenue (Waterford) just before the railroad tracks.
$10 (Free members)
Through the study of geology, we come to understand how the earth came to be. On this brisk hike, Beverly will uncover Mamacoke Island’s long and complex history. Participants will climb the island, from sand flats to rock-strewn summit, and learn the origins of many remarkable features. This will be a rugged walk; participants should dress in long pants and wear appropriate shoes.

Nature Printmaking
Wednesday, April 26, 4 to 6 p.m.
Julie Garvin Riggs, Florence Griswold Museum Art Educator
Use Williams Street entrance to the Arboretum, meet at Buck Lodge.
$20 ($15 members)
Using pencils and printmaking foam we will sketch a landscape in relief which will then be covered in printing paint and rolled out onto cardstock to create a beautiful mirror image. Prints resemble wood block carving prints. Each student will be able to make multiple prints on many colors of cardstock.

Photo Contest Reception on Arbor Day
Friday, April 28, 4 to 5 p.m.
Meet in Unity House.
Prizes for the Annual Photo Contest will be announced, light refreshments served. Exhibition on view through May 24. See contest details on reverse.

Annual Wildflower Walk
Friday, May 5, noon to 1 p.m.
Glenn Dreyer, Arboretum Director
Use Williams Street entrance to the Arboretum; meet at the Outdoor Theater.
On a slope just south of the Laurel Walk lies the Edgerton and Stengel Wildflower Garden, containing over 75 species of wildflowers. Some of the flowers you can expect to see include: Jack-in-the-pulpit, Virginia Blue Bells, Wild Geranium, Solomon’s Seal and Trillium. Bring a picnic lunch to eat by the pond, and then enjoy a 45-minute walk in the Wildflower Garden.

Just for Kids: Wildflower Walk
Friday, May 5, 4 to 5 p.m.
Caroline Driscoll, Arboretum Volunteer
Meet at Arboretum entrance on Williams Street.
Through interactive play, children will learn the identity of several types of wildflowers. They will then test their newly acquired skills on a walk in the Wildflower Garden to find the real living flowers. Appropriate for ages 4 to 10, accompanied by an adult.

Bonsai Workshop - Class is Full
Sunday, May 7, 2 to 5 p.m.
Todd Hansen, Sanctuary Bonsai, East Hartford, CT
Meet in New London Hall, Botany Lab room 112.
$45 ($35 members)
This program will demystify the ancient horticultural art form of bonsai. Following a lecture and demonstration, participants will begin working on a small plant to start on its path towards being a bonsai. With a focus on care and maintenance learn all the basics of bonsai design.

Wildflower Identification Workshop
Sunday, May 14, 10 a.m. to noon
Susan Munger, Arboretum volunteer
Meet at the Arboretum entrance on Williams Street.
Free, reservations required.
Wildflowers are often identified by flower form and color. Other useful characters are leaf form, growth pattern and habitat. The first hour will be spent at Buck Lodge practicing with keys using field guides such as Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. Live specimens will be provided. Bring guidebooks and hand lenses if you have them. Then we will walk to the Arboretum Wildflower Garden to test our skills with what is in bloom. It is asked that participants Do Not Pick Anything while in the Arboretum. Please, no dogs or children. Sponsored by the Connecticut Botanical Society.

Archaeology Walk
Friday, May 19, 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Moriah McKenna '17
Meet at 33 Gallows Lane.
Free, no reservations required.
Join Moriah on a walk to the Coffey Farm (tract 19) to talk about some of the research she has been doing in the Arboretum on Anthropogenic Landscapes: Stone Features of Colonial Era Farmsteads. This walk will cover rugged terrain and go off trail. Please wear long pants and appropriate shoes. Be sure to check yourself for ticks after the walk.

New London Tree Walk from A to Z
Saturday, May 20, 10:30 a.m. to noon
Maggie Redfern, Assistant Director
Meet at the Public Library of New London Community Room, 63 Huntington Street.
Within downtown New London there’s everything from Acer to Zelkova. Urban trees provide a range of benefits from environmental to social. Learn to identify some of the more common and most unusual specimens on the downtown streets and parks. This tour is for anyone interested in nature in the city.

CT Trails Day: Bolleswood Natural Area
Saturday, June 3, 10 a.m. to 12 noon
Meet at 33 Gallows Lane, New London.
Free, no reservations required.
Walk through the Bolleswood Natural Area west of the Arboretum's pond with assistant director Maggie Redfern. The oak and hemlock forested Bolleswood tract preserves samples of vegetation types, and serves as an example of natural change and development over time. The Bolleswood natural area is a site of long-term vegetation and breeding bird surveys begun in the early 1950s and still in progress. A major feature is the dry ledgy terrain where a thin soil mantle lies in depressions in the rocky outcrops. This will be a rugged walk, participants should dress in long pants and wear appropriate shoes.
Co-sponsored by the Riverside Park Conservancy.

Music in the Meadow 6
Friday, June 17, Gates at 6 p.m.
Arboretum Outdoor Theater
$10 adults, $5 kids, Free Connecticut College Students