Tree tours include stops at Hastings College, Highland Park Arboretums

Free public tours of arboretums in south central Nebraska will take place October 3-5 at gardens created to serve the communities they’re located in—public landscapes designed for active use, sustainability and beauty. The gardens are all part of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum (NSA), having made a commitment to careful plant selection, diversity, wise management and use.

In Hastings, tour participants can visit three locations on Friday, October 5. From 10 a.m.-12 noon, tours will be provided at Central Community College (550 Technical Boulevard, Hastings, Neb.) For the afternoon, special presentations will take place at the Hastings College and Highland Park Arboretums. The schedule is as follows:

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Central Community College — Hastings Campus (550 Technical Boulevard)

1:00 – 3:00 p.m. – Hastings College Arboretum
-Meet at large parking lot on the west side of Morrison-Reeves Science Center (717 Ash Ave.)
-Study large rain garden and waterfall feature which have 2,000 plants and 80 species.
-Compare growth rates and shapes of several species of elms and oaks.
-Evaluate age, health, and prospects of some of the oldest and largest trees on the original campus area.
-Visit the HC tree nursery with 130 trees planted by students in April 2011.  Nebraska State Arboretum (NSA)/Nebraska Forest Service (NFS) experts will illustrate root development of trees planted in RootMaker bags and demonstrate transplanting techniques.
-Showcase rainwater collection system for watering nursery and young trees on campus.

3:00 – 5:00 p.m. – Highland Park Arboretum (HPA)
-Meet at the kiosk in the south parking lot to the Hastings Museum (1330 North Burlington Ave.)
-Refreshment break
-Discussion of private and public partnerships by Becky Matticks, Hastings Museum
-Overview of HPA’s first four years by Jo Seiler, Master Gardener
-Visit groupings of trees and test plots with master gardeners
-Future Vision and Plan and Pavilion – Ron Seymour, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension and Highland Park Co-Chair
-Walk through Fischer Fountain area mixed plantings
-Veterans’ Memorial landscape
-Memorial Tree Program presentation by Jo Seiler
-Planting of a tree by NSA/HPA personnel
-Closing comments by Justin Evertson, NSA

Other stops on the south central Nebraska arboretum tour include the following:
October 3
10 a.m. in Kearney at Harmon Park. This classic old park in the heart of town (West 29th and 5th Ave.) is home to a whimsical rock garden, a lighthouse and a variety of trees.
11 a.m. in Kearney, a tree-planting demonstration at Buffalo Hills School, 6110 11th Ave.
1 p.m. in Lexington at Stenberg Arboretum/Dawson County Fairgrounds. Dave Stenberg, for whom the site is named, will discuss the unique challenges in creating an arboretum within a very active fairgrounds.
3 p.m. in Gothenburg at Ehmen Park. This green oasis at 15th and Ave. F in Gothenburg is home to the Pony Express Station and an impressive collection of unique trees.
5 p.m. in North Platte at Cody Park. Located on Highway 83 on the north edge of North Platte, Cody Park contains an amazing variety of trees.

October 4
8:30 a.m. in Curtis at Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, where the plantings are an important part of the college’s teaching mission.
10 a.m. in McCook. Bur oaks that are progeny from nearby native populations will be an important part of this tour.
1 p.m. in Cambridge at Walburn Memorial Arboretum, just north of Highway 6/34 on the east edge of town.
3 p.m. in Alma at Pheasant Point Arboretum on the north shore of Harlan County Reservoir, about 1 mile southeast of Alma.
6-8 p.m. at the Minden Community Arboretum which has multiple sites around town. The tour will begin at the school’s outdoor classroom at West 5th Street and Macintyre Ave, on the west side of town.

For more information about all of the tours, call (402) 472-2971.

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