Arboretum to host its first spring event, as a part of a workshop series

Gardening 101, the arboretum’s first spring event of the year, will take place this Friday, kicking off a series of spring vegetable gardening workshops for students.

The project is being organized by the university in partnership with UMD Dining Services, the Office of Community Engagement and the Institute of Applied Agriculture, according to Meg Smolinsky, the volunteer and outreach coordinator for the workshop series.

“We have run public programming in the arboretum in the past. We started in September, and we are starting up again.” Smolinsky said. “It is a great way to bring the community together. We are looking to provide information to people who want to be a part of our gardens on campus, start their own garden or join a community one in College Park.”

According to their website, an arboretum is a collection of plants and trees for the purpose of scientific and educational studies. In addition, they are created for public enjoyment, which Smolinsky says has played an important role on campus for students and the landscape alike.

Lily Silver-Alford, a sophomore Environmental Science and Policy major who plans on attending the event, said that due to lack of time and resources, she hasn’t had an opportunity to learn about how she can get involved with a local garden.

“A lot of people don’t have time to explore gardening and composting, especially when you are an undergraduate living in an apartment or dorm,” Silver said. “I have a pretty big garden at my house and I can never get enough information on it. I would love to be a part of a garden on campus or start my own garden.”

Since 2008, the UMD Arboretum and Botanical Garden has been the designated campus landscape, leading them to be named a Tree Campus USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation for six years in a row.

Other workshops in the series include “starting” seeds, which will take place on March 10, and composting on April 14, which Silver believes is an incredibly crucial skill to be aware of and know how to create.

“I think that it is extremely important in more than one way to learn these skills. It is important for people to understand how composting and planting works so that they can use these skills in order to implement themselves in a more individual basis,” Silver said. “Gardening is great for the planet and therefore it is a great investment, even to those who aren’t that interested.”

The event will take place in the Arboretum Outreach Center, which is located behind Byrd Stadium. There will be a presentation on basic gardening, handouts and a hands-on gardening activity.

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