N° 135 — February 1, 2023

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

Members of CCC Company 1360, an all African American unit stationed at the National Arboretum. Photo from CCC Annual, District 3, 3d Corps Area, 1937 via Living New Deal.

Black Legacies: Civilian Conservation Corps

The National Arboretum would likely not look as it does today without the work of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Company 1360, an all African American unit. This company was stationed at the National Arboretum at Camp NA-1 from 1933 to 1941.

Company 1360 performed over 130,000 days of labor building up the infrastructure of the Arboretum. The unit's young men cleared 350 acres of brush, put wire fencing and concrete curbing around the 450 acre tract, and prepared 150 acres of soil. They also built miles of trails, six bridges, five greenhouses, two ponds, one small lake, and planted trees, shrubs, and sod across the tract.

CCC members playing cards during their time off. Photo from CCC Annual, District 3, 3d Corps Area, 1937 via Living New Deal.

The Black men of CCC Company 1360 drastically shaped the physical layout of the Arboretum in ways we still see today. Frederic A. Delano, President Roosevelt's uncle and advisor, acknowledged their work in the 1941 Evening Star when he said: "… the terrain of the original area had been put into very good condition, thanks largely to the establishment of a C.C.C. Camp. These competent young men have, among other things, built roads, laid out tree areas, built artificial lakes and, in fact, have helped put the soil in good condition for growing a tree crop."

Learn More About the CCC's Work at the Arboretum >

Spring Symposiums

Join the National Arboretum this spring for their gardening and horticulture programs. FONA members, check your email for membership discount codes to apply when registering.

Connecting Cultures: Japanese Flowering Cherries in America will take place on Saturday, March 18th from 1 PM to 4:30 PM at the Arboretum. This half-day program will cover the history of Japanese cherry trees in America, ancient cherry trees and restorative practices in Japan, the flowering cherry research program at the Arboretum, and a tree-side presentation of the traditional Japanese support system that is being installed near the National Herb Garden.

Speakers include landscape architect Ron Henderson; Anthony Aiello, the Associate Director of Collections at Longwood Gardens; Dr. Margaret Pooler, Research Leader of the Arboretum’s Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit; and Kurato Fujimoto, a master gardener based in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. View the full program here. Registration is required and costs $20 ($16 for FONA members).

Register for Connecting Cultures >

The 36th Annual Lahr Native Plants Symposium will take place on Saturday, March 25th from 9:30 AM to 3:45 PM at the Arboretum. Learn from native plant professionals about efforts to reestablish beautiful and unusual habitats and how we can successfully manage and design our cultivated landscapes. The 36th Lahr Native Plant Symposium provides inspiration from the wild and practical advice for our gardens. View the full program here.

Registrants attend all plenary sessions and one concurrent session of their choice. Registration is required and costs $100 ($80 for FONA members). It includes all sessions, morning coffee and refreshments, and box lunch.

Register for the Lahr Symposium >

Native Plant Sale

Get a head start on spring and join us for our annual Native Plant Sale on Saturday, March 25th from 8:15 AM to 2 PM. This event is held in conjunction with the National Arboretum's Lahr Native Plants Symposium, and will take place outside on Meadow Road between the Visitor Center and the National Herb Garden.

This sale will include four to seven vendors from across the mid-Atlantic selling spring ephemerals and many other choice perennials and woody plants. Registration is encouraged but not required — let us know you're coming!

Register for the Native Plant Sale >

DC Teachers' Night is being held Thursday, February 2nd from 6 to 8 PM at the U.S. Botanic Garden. This event is only open to DC teachers, and connects them to environmental organizations that offer education experiences like field trips, professional development opportunities, and classroom resources. Stop by the FONA table while you're there! The event is free but registration is required.

Register for DC Teachers' Night >

Pet Etiquette

Please remember, pets must be leashed at all times on the grounds of the National Arboretum, and must be controlled so they do not enter, urinate on, or defecate in garden beds. Owners must also clean up after their pets.

Read All Arboretum Rules & Guidelines >

Upcoming Events

Connecting Cultures: Japanese Flowering Cherries in America

March 18, 1 PM - 4:30 PM

Cherry tree symposium hosted by the National Arboretum

Details & Registration >

36th Annual Lahr Native Plant Symposium

March 25, 9:30 AM - 3:45 PM

Native plant symposium hosted by the National Arboretum

Details & Registration >

Native Plant Sale

March 25, 8:15 AM - 2 PM

Local native plant vendors

Details & Registration >

Garden Fair & Plant Sale

Saturday, April 29th

Details coming soon

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

Check Our Website for Full Details >

Become a Member
Donate Today
Facebook  Instagram  Linkedin  
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.

Did a friend forward you this newsletter?