Those who visit the Morton Arboretum in Lisle can come face-to-face with 222,000 plant specimens representing 4,500 different kinds of plants.
The Morton Arboretum encourages the planting and conservation of trees as a way to make the world a greener and healthier place. Not surprisingly, the arboretum will offer plenty of ways for people to celebrate Arbor Day on April 27, a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant trees.
Arbor Day was founded in 1872 by Julius Sterling Morton, the father of arboretum founder Joy Morton, to encourage the planting and protection of trees.
“Our whole job here is just to teach people about trees and get them excited about trees and all the important things that surround trees,” said Lesley Kolaya, manager of youth and family programs for the Morton Arboretum. “We celebrate trees every day here.”
The arboretum will host a number of activities on Arbor Day and throughout the Arbor Day weekend. That includes the Dress Like a Tree, Get in Free event April 27, where people dressed as trees will receive free admission to the arboretum that day.
“It’s just kind of a creative way for people to celebrate trees,” Kolaya said. “We’ve seen some very creative costumes. It can be anything from just a simple green or camouflaged shirt to people who have very unique costumes that look like a full tree.”
Another event is a tree planting and story time with Curious George at 11 a.m. April 27 at the White Pine Pavilion at the arboretum. Those who attend will listen to “Curious George Plants a Tree” and then help plant a tree. Children’s performer Miss Jamie’s Farm also will perform at the event.
“All of our visitors will get to help us plant two trees on site,” Kolaya said. “That’s kind of our main event that kicks things off in the morning. I love seeing how excited the kids get during the story time and tree planting.”
The event is free with arboretum admission. In addition, all weekend long, from 11 a.m. April 27 to 4 p.m. April 29, people will be able to plant trees in the Children’s Garden at the arboretum. They also will be able to study tree cookies and go on a hunt for five unique trees in the garden.
“A tree cookie is like a little section of a tree that we take out, and we can learn about the tree’s history from that tree cookie,” Kolaya said. “So they can learn a little more about trees that way, investigate them, and they also get to decorate their own tree cookie to take home.”
She hopes such activities will help generate kids’ interest in trees.
“What my job here in the Children’s Garden is to spark that curiosity for trees and to get excited about trees and teach them just about nature in general and kind of spark that love and curiosity,” Kolaya said.
The weekend of activities will wrap up with an Arbor Day Plant Sale that will take place for the general public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 29 in parking lot 33 on the arboretum’s west side.
More than 100,000 plants will be for sale. Information about the sale is available on the arboretum’s website, mortonarb.org.
Admission rates to the Morton Arboretum are $15 for adults ages 18 to 64, $13 for seniors ages 65 and older, $10 for children ages 2 to 17 and free for children younger than 2. Parking is free with admission.
If you go
WHAT: Arbor Day activities
WHEN: April 27 to 29
WHERE: Morton Arboretum, 4100 Route 53, Lisle