Monday, November 19, 2012

Urban Forestry and Philadelphia Navy Yard

by Rebekah Armstrong, Martha S. Miller Endowed Urban Forestry Intern

The Morris Arboretum Urban Forestry Consultants have been spending a lot of hours at the opposite end of Philadelphia recently. We’ve been inventorying, assessing, and mapping 2,000 trees in the Philadelphia Navy Yard (PNY), at the southernmost end of Broad Street. PNY was the first naval shipyard in the country and the U.S. Navy still operates some facilities there. Aker, a shipbuilding company, now manufactures commercial ships at PNY. Then there are companies like Urban Outfitters that have reused the old Navy buildings for their headquarters. Point being, it’s a very cool place to spend time in: giant old ships and abandoned structures next to an active shipyard, constant renovation, and new construction.

During our inventory and assessment, we saw beautiful examples of big healthy spreading trees in lawns and then some sad cases: new trees battered by construction equipment and rubbed to death by deer, e.g.

In general, when we do field work, the urban forestry consultants look for hazardous trees – trees with branches that might fall, trees that are splitting – and then look at the overall health of the trees. We also measure the trunk and canopy, records the species, and map the trees’ locations. We then make recommendations for our clients and provide them with a complete map and inventory of their trees to help them manage their portion of the urban forest. To learn more about the Morris Arboretum Urban Forestry Consultants visit:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Holiday Display Returns to the Garden!

The Morris Arboretum’s popular Holiday Garden Railway Display returns the day after Thanksgiving.

Visitors of all ages will be wowed by a quarter mile of track featuring seven loops and tunnels with fifteen different rail lines and two cable cars, nine bridges (including a trestle bridge you can walk under!), and bustling model trains, all set in the lovely winter garden of the Morris Arboretum. The display and buildings are all made of natural materials – bark, leaves, twigs, hollow logs, mosses, acorns, dried flowers, seeds and stones – to form a perfectly proportioned miniature landscape complete with miniature rivers. Each building, while an exact replica of the original, is unique in its design. Philadelphia-area landmarks such as a masterpiece replica of Independence Hall are made using pine cone seeds for shingles, acorns as finials and twigs as downspouts. The buildings are all meticulously decorated for the holidays with lights that twinkle along the tracks and around the surrounding landscape.

The Holiday Garden Railway opens the day after Thanksgiving and is open daily from 10am-4pm through December 14 and 10am-5pm, December 15-31 (closed Christmas Eve and day, and New Years day).

A special Holiday Garden Railway Grand Opening Celebration will be held on Saturday, November 24 from 1-3pm that will include the sounds of carolers. Kids and adults will also have the opportunity to make an ornament or decoration from natural materials to take home.  The Holiday Garden Railway is a great way to kick off the season and also serves as a fabulous a backdrop for your holiday greeting card, so bring your camera!

The Railway is free with regular garden admission.