N° 149 — May 10, 2023

Enjoy regular updates and insights from FONA, the U.S. National Arboretum, and our award-winning Washington Youth Garden.

The temporary traffic plan that was implemented earlier in the spring to control vehicle flow and parking on the grounds has ended.

Please note, this weekend’s Music in the Meadow concert is sold. If you see someone trying to sell tickets online/social media for this event, please do not buy them. Any extra tickets will be released to those on the Eventbrite waitlist. Tickets sold by second parties besides FONA will not be accepted.

Breeding New Trees

The National Arboretum recently released two new hemlock hybrids into the American nursery industry. Tsuga 'Traveler' and Tsuga 'Crossroad' are both resistant to the hemlock wooly adelgid (HWA), a small sap-sucking insect that has decimated hemlock trees in the eastern United States.

'Traveler' and 'Crossroad' were created by cross-breeding a native hemlock species that is susceptible to HWA (Tsuga caroliniana) with an Asian species that is resistant to HWA (Tsuga chinensis). The resulting hybrids are not only resistant to HWA, but also have symmetrical, upright growth habits that are valuable in residential and commercial gardens.

The National Arboretum's tree breeding program is an important aspect of the Arboretum's overall mission. Developing trees that are genetically resistant to pests reduces the need to use insecticides and biological controls to reduce those pests.

Read More About the Hybrids >

Mature growth form of Tsuga 'Traveler' (top) and 'Crossroad' (bottom) grown in a field in Beltsville, MD. Photo from the National Arboretum.

The 2023 growing season is well underway in Washington Youth Garden. Our team of staff and volunteers have already harvested 450 pounds of produce from the one-acre garden on the grounds of the Arboretum. The majority of these vegetables are leafy greens like kale, chard, lettuce, tatsoi, and collards. All of this produce is donated to families in the community through weekly distributions to our partner schools, DC Central Kitchen, and migrant families recently relocated to Washington, DC.

Want to support our work sharing healthy food with our community? Come volunteer at Washington Youth Garden! Volunteers provide crucial help with gardening tasks such as weeding, planting, mulching, and more. We are particularly looking for more volunteers to help with harvests on Thursdays from 9 AM to noon.

Learn More and Sign Up to Volunteer >


Watch the sun set at the Arboretum while listening to frogs! Join us this Friday, May 12th from 7:30 PM to 9 PM for a FrogWatch event. FrogWatch USA is a national citizen science program of the Akron Zoo that invites individuals and families to learn about the wetlands in their communities and help conserve amphibians by reporting data on the calls of local frogs and toads. Registration is required, tickets are $15.

Register for FrogWatch >

World Bonsai Day

Celebrate World Bonsai Day this Saturday, May 13th at the National Arboretum's National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. From 10 AM to 4 PM, there will be docent-led tours of the Museum and a children's activity table.

There will also be special after-hours activities from 4:30 PM to 8 PM, including koto music, free sake tastings, Museum tours, and a screening of Bicentennial Bonsai: Emissaries of Peace. This film chronicles the historic gift from Japan of 53 bonsai trees to the United States in celebration of its bicentennial, which now live in the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. The film screening will be followed by Q&A with the directors. Read the full event program here. Registration is $12.50, and you can also pre-order a bento box for $20 to pickup during the event. FONA members, use your discount code.

Register for the Film Screening >

Photo from Urban Adventure Squad

From Our Friends: Urban Adventure Squad

Join the Urban Adventure Squad on Saturday, May 20th from 1 PM to 3 PM at the National Arboretum for We Fly Together. This free community event celebrates urban birding and is open to participants of all ages. Attendees can practice bird identification, create field guides, and learn how to use binoculars. The event is funded by the Cornell Lab's Celebrate Urban Birds project. It will take place in the Friendship Garden behind Arbor House, directly next to the R Street Entrance.

Upcoming Events


May 12, 7:30 PM - 9 PM

Citizen science frog survey

Details & Registration >

Music in the Meadow:

Cumbia Heights

May 13, 6:30 PM - 9 PM

Evening concert in the meadow

Add Your Name to the Waitlist >

Summer 5K

June 3, 8 AM

Run or walk through collections in bloom, members use discount code

Register for the Race >

Music in the Meadow:

U.S. Navy Band

June 11, 2 PM - 3:30 PM

Afternoon concert in the meadow

Details & Registration >

Springhouse Run Volunteer Days

Various dates and times

Keep the restored stream healthy

Upcoming Dates & Registration >

Forest Bathing Walks

Various dates and times

Meditation and mindfulness

Upcoming Dates & Registration >

The Arboretum is open every day from 8 AM to 5 PM except December 25th.

Check Our Website for Full Details >

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Friends of the National Arboretum
3501 New York Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002
FONA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization with the mission to preserve and enhance a vibrant public space and support experiential programming that instills a love of plants, nature and the outdoors in all who visit, while promoting the overarching research and education mission of the U.S. National Arboretum.

Since its inception, FONA has helped support the Washington Youth Garden, Capitol Columns, Flowering Tree Walk, horticultural and research internships, restoration of Springhouse Run, and much more.

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