Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Springfield Mill

Below is an image from the circa 1890 “Catalog of Burnaham’s New Improved Standard Water Wheel”.   The catalog, now in our archives, was discovered in the Bloomfield Barn with the office address of John Morris (876 Drexel Building) written on the cover.  

A similar Burnham turbine in the penstock at Springfield Mills was uncovered in September during restoration activities.  The Burnham turbine, built in Glenn Rock, PA, was last restored during WWII to power the irrigation pumps in the mill supplying the beef herd here at Morris Arboretum.  Here is a picture from roughly the same perspective as the sketch. 

I was able to go over to Springfield Mill at Bloomfield Farm (right across Northwestern Avenue from the main entrance to Morris Arboretum) last week and check out the turbine first hand.  It was really interesting learning about the rich history of Springfield Mill, its economical importance in this area at the turn of the century and the mechanical engineering that allowed work to be accomplished without electricity.  It is very hard for some people to conceive of life without TV, internet and much more so electricity!

This picture, taken from above shows the turbine at the bottom and then the gears that transfer the movement into the mill to power the operation.
From this angle, you can see at the top where a gear would transfer energy into the mill (the wooden, blue painted structure).
The inside of the mill is in terrific condition, considering it is more than 150 years old.  Renovations are also currently under operation to restore the mill.  Group tours of the mill can now be scheduled - check our website ( or call Lisa Bailey (215.247.5777 x157).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Birding at the Morris Arboretum

Songbirds are migrating through Morris Arboretum and lots of bird watching classes are coming up.  Of course you can always come out to the Arboretum with binoculars in hand and check out the birds all by yourself (especially in the natural wetlands area).  For more informative classes (with birding experts) and fun with other birders, here are some of the classes that you can join us for…

Birding in the Diverse Habitats of the Morris Arboretum 
Friday, September 24 and Saturday, October 9, 2010  8 am—11 am
Join Ruth and explore some of the hotspots for birds at the Morris Arboretum. We will visit the Arboretum’s natural areas including wetlands, meadows, and the woodlands along the Wissahickon Creek. These areas provide great habitat for a wide variety of birds year-round. We will see resident birds as well as migrating raptors and warblers. We will also have a chance to look for birds on the tree canopy, Out on a Limb, which will provide us with a great vantage point for viewing birds at treetop level. These sessions are for beginning or experienced bird watchers.

Birding at Manasquan (NJ) Reservoir 
Tuesday September 21, 2010 7:45 am—4 pm

Manasquan Reservoir and Park, located in Monmouth County, New Jersey, is an environmental jewel and home to over 200 bird species. The 1,200-acre park provides a variety of habitats including woods and wetlands that are great for bird watching. Great blue herons, ospreys, and double-crested cormorants can be found there. We will also be on the lookout for migrating warblers and raptors. The Reservoir, which boasts a large and varied fish population, is the best site for bald eagles in Monmouth County.

Birding Adventure in Ithaca, New York  
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, September 26, 27 and 28, 2010
We will head north for a birding adventure in Ithaca, New York, located at the base of beautiful Lake Cayuga. Our three-day visit has a variety of stops including the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge. This 7,000-acre refuge, situated in the middle of one of the most active flight lanes in the Atlantic flyway, provides resting, feeding, and nesting habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds. We will also explore Sapsucker Woods, a 230-acre sanctuary where more than 200 bird species have been recorded. This sanctuary encompasses forests, ponds, ferny swamps, and abundant wildlife, and the visitor’s center features an observatory with telescopes, bird feeders, and interactive exhibits. Other stops on our trip include Robert Treman State Park, with a rugged gorge that features beautiful cascading waterfalls, and Cornell Plantations, which contains a wide range of native and cultivated varieties of trees and shrubs.

Costa Rica Birding Adventure
February 3—13, 2011
Join us for 10 days and 11 nights of birding in beautiful Costa Rica. We will have comfortable accommodations, our own bus, and expert guides who will make the trip interesting and a lot of fun. We will visit Lankester Botanical Gardens that has a world class collection of nearly a thousand varieties of plants, many of them orchids that are displayed at eye level. We will visit Alexander Skutch’s "Los Cusingos" Bird Sanctuary. This sanctuary was the home of botanist and ornithologist Alexander F. Skutch who studied birds extensively and wrote many books on bird behavior. Los Esquinas Rainforest Lodge will be another stop. Hidden in the jungle of remote Piedras Blancas National Park, the lodge is surrounded by thousands of acres of untouched wilderness. It is a retreat for nature lovers wishing to experience the sounds and sights of a tropical rainforest in a tranquil, undisturbed atmosphere. The Wilson Botanical Gardens in Las Cruces, a garden that specializes in tropical ecology, will be another stop. We will finish with three days at Savegre. This cloud forest is a paradise for birdwatchers with over 170 species of birds including the spectacular resplendent quetzal.

Friday, September 10, 2010

It is time for the annual Scarecrow Design Contest at Morris Arboretum!

Unleash the creativity inside you...

You are invited to participate in our third annual Scarecrow Design contest!   Enter the Morris Arboretum Scarecrow Design contest and have your designer scarecrow displayed along the Oak AllĂ©e. All entries will be displayed on the “Scarecrow Walk” at Morris Arboretum from Saturday, October 2nd (the day before our popular Fall Festival) through Sunday, October 17th.

We will provide the frame, hay, burlap and twine and the rest is up to you!

Registration deadline | Friday, September 17th
Scarecrow delivery date | Friday, October 1st, delivered to Morris Arboretum
Space is limited to 30 Scarecrows and this popular contest fills quickly, so get your entry in early!

Check out our website here.

Scarecrow winners from last year:
We had lots of really great entrants last year!  Here are the top three:

 First Place: TuTu Pretty

Second Place: Edwin D. Day

Third Place: Spongebob Squarepants


Morris Arboretum Interns visit the High Line in New York City

Yesterday the interns went on a field trip to the High Line in New York City. The High Line is a New York City park built on an elevated 1930s freight rail structure on Manhattan’s West Side. Check out their website here: They met with Patrick Cullina, the Vice President of Horticulture and Park Operations. They had a great tour of the plants, history and challenges of the park.

Here are a few pictures from the visit:

Meet the New Interns:

In June, a new group of interns were welcomed to the Morris Arboretum for a year of learning on the job, while gaining practical experience in garden management.

The interns for 2010-2011 are (pictured above left to right):
Sara Levin, The McLean Contributionship Endowed Education Intern, University of Washington
C.J. Catani, The Alice and J. Liddon Pennock Horticulture Intern, Temple University - Ambler
Rebecca Bakker, The Martha S. Miller Urban Forestry Intern, Temple University - Ambler
Shea Zwerver, Charles S. Holman Rose & Flower Garden Intern, Smith College
Bryan Thompson-Nowak, Walter W. Root Memorial Arborist Intern, Albright College
Teresa Trego, Eli Kirk Price Flora of Pennsylvania Intern, Temple University - Ambler
Danica Doroski, Martha J. Wallace Plant Propagation Intern, Bates College
Tracey Beerley, John J. Willaman & Martha Haas Valentine Plant Protection Intern, Lock Haven University
Grace Asperin, Hay Honey Farm Natural Lands Intern, University of Hawaii-Manoa