Spring break Family Day Camps, a midnight meteor watching party, and a benefit dinner and concert highlight a year-long slate of events at The Brenton Arboretum to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the plantings of the first trees.
The year’s biggest bash is June Moon, a benefit dinner and concert in conjunction with the full moon on June 9.
Other new and special programming to celebrate this landmark year includes family-friendly Spring Break Day Camps March 15-17 (registration open now). And the Arboretum’s popular Dog Day, when all dogs are admitted free of charge, has been expanded from one to three days throughout the summer. Dog Days of Summer — the second Saturdays of July, August, and September — feature activities for canines and their human companions.
Visitors will be granted special after-dark access to the Arboretum on August 12 to marvel at the Perseid Meteor shower. Guests will view a cosmic spectacle against the special kind of darkness you can only find in the country.
A Man With a Vision
In 1997, Buz Brenton and a group of friends planted the first trees on a piece of land that was part of the original 1853 Brenton family homestead. The idea was to create a beautiful place where Iowans could learn about trees and enjoy an environment of natural quiet beauty. Back then, the Arboretum’s land was not much more than acres of windswept pasture with a few lonely streams running through it. But it didn’t take long for this blank canvas to transform into a beautiful oasis of trees, shrubs, lakes, and flowering prairies.
In the early days the location of The Brenton Arboretum was considered rural, but the rapid growth of western suburbs has put the institution within minutes of the Des Moines metro’s population. As a result, thousands of Iowans have discovered the Arboretum as a great place to connect with nature. Last year more than 14,000 cars passed through the Arboretum’s gate.
Through the past two decades, more than 2,250 trees and shrubs have been planted at The Brenton Arboretum, representing over 500 unique cultivars and species suited to Iowa’s growing conditions. Some trees are Midwest natives that every Iowan should know by heart, while others are exceptional species from around the world.
Buz Brenton has long been a strong supporter of environmental conservation and this dedication is apparent at the Arboretum. From restored prairies to a nationally accredited Kentucky coffeetree collection, the importance of plant conservation and natural land preservation plays a strong role in everything the institution does.
These conservation values are especially apparent in The Brenton Arboretum’s award-winning Knee-High Naturalist field trip program. Through this program, school children across central Iowa are welcomed to the Arboretum for free field trips led by knowledgeable naturalists and guides. The goal is to instill a love and appreciation for nature in Iowans when they are young, in the hopes that they, like Buz Brenton, will grow up to be defenders of the natural world.
To learn more about upcoming programs and events, visit The Brenton Arboretum website: www.thebrentonarboretum.org.
To register for programs, events, or to reserve tickets for June Moon, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 515.992.4211 ext 5. The Arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m. to sunset with free admission.
Dogs are welcome with their owners’ annual membership or purchase of a $5 daily pass (no charge for dogs on Dog Days).