Arboretum News and History
Trail Status Report - July 23, 2014
|Interior Loop/Jogging Trail||A=|
|Main Entrance Trail (kiosk/Murphey Art to cabin)||A=|
|Upper Cross Trail (post #3 to pavilion to pavilion/post #12)||A=|
|Lower Cross Trail (post #5 to post #10)||A=|
|Ridge/SE Exterior Loop Trail (post #9 to post #11)||B=|
|Wolf Creek/SW Exterior Loop Trail (post #6 to post #8)||C~|
|Covington/NW Exterior Loop Trail (post #4 to post #7)||B=|
|Natural Playground Trail||B=|
Please be advised that the Upper Cross Trail and Wolf Creek Loop Trail
may have flooded sections following heavy rainstorms.
A - wide, graded, level; any shoes OK; fine for kids
B - well-marked but narrow; sensible shoes recommended
C - well-marked but narrow; mildly steep or muddy sections
D - substantially overgrown, eroded, or flooded
= - completely open
~ - minor deadfall, erosion, or flooding
x - major blockage
Spring Trail Day - Sunday, March 30 - Our thanks to the 20 volunteers who participated in Spring Trail Day. Completed projects included:
- preparing space in our Natural Playground area for a 12' diameter Oglala Sioux
tipi which we will set up this summer
- stripping the bark off of 15 tipi poles made from small cut pines
- clearing and chipping invasive privet, thorny olive, and wisteria upstream on
Bobcat Creek from the Bobcat Bend bridge
- reseating and repositioning our trail marker posts, then adding small color-coded
New Benches and Trail Markers - Jonah Applebee of Boy Scout Troop #4, completed his Eagle Scout service project in the Wesleyan Arboretum on Saturday, February 15. Twenty-one people from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints put in 76 man hours on that work day, helping Jonah build six new Leopold benches, placing 15 mile markers on the inner loop trail, and clearing a large swath of invasive plants around the trailhead behind the Murphy Art Building.
Arboretum Restoration Day - Thirty five friends of the Arboretum gathered on the afternoon of Saturday, February 15 to restore native plants to the entrance glade below the kiosk. We planted more than 60 specimens from 20 plant species in the understory of the glade along the trail and the creek. Our thanks to the T. Baldwin Martin, Jr. family of Macon for their support in this project.
The Wesleyan College Arboretum gains National Accreditation! - The prestigious Morton Registry of Arboreta has awarded the Wesleyan College Arboretum Level I Accreditation. This accreditation recognizes our establishment of a long-term development plan, an administrative governing group, a "conservation corridor" featuring more than 35 labeled plant species, public access to trails, and educational special events.
Arboretum Manager - Lynn Hooven has been hired as our new Arboretum Manager. Lynn is an award-winning forester and arborist with years of experience in managing southern forests. He will be providing professional insight into management of the forest, helping to guide the removal of invasive species and reintroduction of native plants, and directing maintenance and enhancement of the trail system.
Pioneer Fest 2013 - Our third annual PioneerFest dinner and celebration featured our traditional chili cook-off, country crafts, games, henna tattoos, discovery boxes, guided nature walks, music by the Wesleyan Washboard Band, the "big game" on the soccer field, and our traditional campfire sing-a-long to finish up. New this year was a woodsy treasure hunt. More than 150 people attended, including more than 90 students.
A New Roof for the Cabin - In the second week of November we replaced the worn , leaky shingle roof of the cabin with a new metal roof. The cabin now matches the other two structures in "Edenfield Village", the pavilion and the storage shed. Our thanks to Rob Edenfield for his foresight and generosity in providing this much-needed renovation.
Martin Family Gift and Arboretum Accreditation - This fall the Wesleyan Arboretum will be applying for Level I accreditation from ArbNet - The Morton Registry of Arboreta. This has been made possible by a generous financial gift from T. Baldwin Martin, Jr. and the Martin family, multi-generation neighbors and patrons of the Rivoli campus. Activities supported by this gift so far include:
- designating 35 species of specimen trees, shrubs, and woody vines and labeling
them with small staked signs
- purchasing native plants for restoring a natural understory to the Bobcat Bend
and Entrance Glade areas
- establishing a student Arboretum Intern position to help with invasive species
removal and native plant restoration
- contracting an experienced forester to serve as a part-time Arboretum Manager to
help design, coordinate, and implement conservation and restoration efforts
So take a seat on the bridge, bench, or rocky outcropping, and spend a relaxing hour enjoying Bobcat Bend and its restored native plants. Dangle your feet in the creek. Listen to the little waterfall and the barred owls which frequent the nearby glade. Look for the new specimen plant labels in the "Conservation Corridor" along the Entrance Trail below the kiosk, at Bobcat Bend, and in the cabin area. Check your finds against the "Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines of the Wesleyan Campus" guide.
Fall Trail Day - Sunday, October 27 - At least 36 students, faculty, staff, and friends joined us for a very productive afternoon in the Arb. Completed tasks included:
- thoroughly cleaning the cabin, including the windows
- reopening the outer loop trains which had become a bit overgrown this summer
- continuing to expand the Bobcat Bend area by clearing a large expanse of privet
and other invasive plants
- planting several native pawpaws, azaleas, and hydrangeas at Bobcat Bend
- cleaning accumulated trash from the sandbar area of Wolf Creak at the back of
- blazing an entirely new trail off of the Covington Exterior Loop Trail to the site of
the new natural playground/campground
Once again, our sincere thanks go to all of those volunteers who continue to make the Arb a great place to be.
An Arboretum T-Shirt! - We now have our first official Wesleyan Arboretum t-shirt. Talk to it's designer Jim Ferrari to get one of your very own.
WOW! A Day Comes to the Arb - Students, faculty, and friends participating in WOW! A Day for Macon moved a multi-year supply of firewood from a huge fallen post oak near the Bobcat Creek lower bridge uphill to several storage piles in the cabin area. Our special thanks to all of those who participated, especially Molly Martin who worked to remove the fallen oak and expose the outcropping under it, to Matt Martin (no relation) who organized the work crew, and to Rob Edenfield who gave most of a Saturday to this project.
Clearing of Foster Lake Dam - In recent years the back glacis of the earthen retaining dam for Foster Lake has become overgrown with small trees, vines, and shrubs. In order to ensure the long-term stability of the dam, these were completely cleared down to the foot of the dam. Herbicide treatment of this slope are will continue through the winter, followed by establishment carpet of natural retaining groundcover plants.
Summer Improvements to the Cabin - Over the summer Pat Pritchard supervised two improvements to the Anderson Cabin:
- the antiquated, always-running, conventional water heater was replaced with
a modern, on-demand, tankless heater to significantly reduce
energy use when the cabin is not occupied.
- the stone chimney was fitted with an insulating metal chimney liner and the
wood-burning stove was spruced up with a fresh paint job and a new electric
Carnage in the Cabin Continues - Holly Boettger-Tong introduced a campful of KidsCollege kids to the wonders and wetness of forensic science with another cabin who-done-it and who-gets-to-clean-it-up.
Spring Trail Day - Sunday, April 7 - About 20 students, staff, faculty family and friends spent 3 hours working in the Arboretum. The major accomplishments this Spring were:
- building, transporting, installing, and completing the New Bridge across a major
gully/intermittent stream on the Covington Loop Trail
- clearing two large pine trees from across the Lower Cross Trail to open it back up
- removing a whole lot of invasive periwinkle and privet from the glade below the
cabin along the Entrance Trail
Thanks to these efforts all of the trails are now completely open and ready for the new Summer/Fall hiking season.
Establishment of "Bobcat Bend" - Throughout the spring Molly Martin has worked tirelessly to clean up and clear out the area around the Lower Bridge on Bobcat Creek, below the cabin. This has included digging out imbedded artifacts such as the poly pail from the small waterfall above the bridge and whacking through a forest of privet to open up the understory and expose the trees and rock outcroppings. Native beautyberries and Christmas ferns are now coming back in the open areas. This is becoming a special place within our special arboretum, so our thanks to Molly for her vision and creative effort.
Classes and Meetings in the Cabin - Use of the cabin has increased this winter. Pat Pritchard's EDS 313 Children, Nature and Society course meets weekly in the cabin and the surrounding woods. Several groups have rented the space for private functions, ranging from board meetings to birthday parties to a celebration of recent faculty Euro-trekking adventures.
And Then the Rains Came - Heavy rains throughout late January and much of February brought a welcome relief to the multiyear drought in central Georgia. Foster Lake filled to overflowing, then Bobcat Creek filled for the first time in two years. Unfortunately, Wolf Creek Loop Trail effectively became a branch of Wolf Creek for most of February, forcing closure of the trail to foot traffic.
All-in-all, however, the trail system held up remarkably well, with only a few areas of pooled water, little erosion, and no fallen trees across trails.
Bobcat Creek above Lower Bridge
Wolf Creek Loop "Trail"
Forensic Biology in the Cabin - This summer's virtual carnage has
continued unabated in the cabin this semester. Dr. Boettger-Tong's
Forensic Biology class has investigated several staged crime scenes to learn the
tools of the trade and practice their "who-done-it" skills. Stay tuned for
leg- late-breaking news at 11.
Pioneer Fest 2012 - On the evening of Saturday, November 3rd we hosted the second annual Pioneer Fest in the cabin/pavilion area. The event featured great music, tasty food, lots of activities for kids, and a wholesome, fun time for all. Wesleyan's Washboard Band entertained us through the early part of the gathering. Our second annual chili cook-off, nature walks, wagon rides along the trails, a lantern walk, and a somewhat dark and scary game of sharks and fishes on the soccer field were all successes. We finished up with a campfire sing-along to end the evening.
Fall Trail Day - Sunday, October 28th from 1-4 PM - More than 20 students, faculty, and friends spent a beautiful fall afternoon working in the Arboretum. Among our accomplishments were:
- construction and placement of six new wooden Aldo Leopold benches along the
Entrance Trail, the Ridge and Covington portions of the Exterior Loop Trail, and
facing the Giant Tulip Poplar iat the heart of the Arb
An unexpected visitor checks out a1/3 scale prototype
of the new Aldo Leopold trail benches
- clearing fallen brush from the cabin area and preparing it for the upcoming
- weed whacking, deadfall removal, and invasive plant control along all of the
- cleaning up and removing substantial amounts of "legacy trash" from Bobcat
Creek and an old dump site near Wolf Creek
Our special thanks to Molly Martin for single-handedly removing two old 50-gallon drums and a good-sized pile of assorted metal pieces from the Covington loop prior to Trail Day. The history of restored wild spaces is not always pretty, but thanks to friends like Molly the future of our Arboretum will be.
Community Garden - A strip of land has been tilled on the "golf course" for a new community garden. Twelve plots, each 6' by 8', are available right now for adoption and cultivation by interested and dedicated members of the Wesleyan community. Interested urban gardeners should contact Pat Pritchard for more information.
The community garden site as of September 20
Construction of the New Fire Circle - During August and September a new fire circle was constructed in the clearing in front of the cabin porch. The new fire circle features a stone-covered concrete pad and seating ring and a central fire pit enclosed with the marble ring stones from the original fire pit. Kudos to Pat for the designing the circle, pouring the pad, and contracting for the beautiful stonework.
The completed fire circle as of October 4
(Photo by Jennifer Lee)
Continuing Work on the Cabin and Pavilion - Enhancements to the cabin and pavilion area completed during the summer include:
- a wagon wheel chandelier for the center of the cabin great room, constructed
and wired by Barry (with thanks to CP, William, and Andy for help hoisting the
70+ pound finished product into place!)
- new lighted ceiling fans for the great room meeting and study areas
- assorted winter-shed mule deer antlers to spruce up the office and
kitchen chandeliers and fireplace mantle, plus a genuine hand-painted
saw blade clock (donated by Barry)
- a framed arboretum map for the great room wall
- glass tops and wood bottoms for the two display coffee tables (thanks
- an 8' x 10' Yoder wooden shed for storing trail equipment, the garden cart,
hoses, sprinklers, tables, chairs, etc. (thanks to the Alumnae Association
- enclosed trash bins at the trailheads by the tennis courts and the kiosk
to eliminate outdoor trash cans in the cabin/pavilion area
- permanent electrical wiring for outdoor power and lighting extended from
the cabin to the pavilion (kudos to Pat for arranging for this)
It Was A Dark And Stormy Afternoon - Students in this summer's Spectacles Science Camp for middle school girls investigated a murder (mystery!) in the cabin during the week of July 15th. They used forensic techniques such as blood identification and blood spatter analysis to verify that the suspicious red stains on the equally suspicious broken furniture and carpet swatches indicated foul play and justified reopening this cold case. The final outcome of their investigation was Professor Boettger-Tong in the great room with a sponge. Eeww!
Heronfest on Foster Lake - Answering some mysterious natural dinner bell, an unusual diversity of herons and egrets (order Ciconiiformes or Pelecaniformes, family Ardeidae) have descended on Foster Lake for a communal summer of fishing and frogging. Our usual great blue heron (Ardea herodias) and occasional green herons (Butorides virescens) have been joined this summer by a great egret (Ardea alba), three cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis), and a little blue heron (Egretta garzetta). Resident treefrogs are likely sharing Kermit's sentiment that, especially this summer, "it's not easy being green".
Pavilion Dedication - The formal dedication of the Ellen Ann Edenfield Pavilion was held on the evening of Thursday, May 17th. The pavilion has been named in recognition of the generosity of Arboretum benefactor and Wesleyan trustee Dr. Robert Edenfield and in memory and honor of his sister Ellen. The festivities included the dedication address by President Ruth Knox, a catered dinner, live bluegrass music, and a birthday celebration for college chaplain Rev. Bill Hurdle.
Our special thanks to Denise Holloway of the President's Office and Sue Yost of Aramark Foods for all their work preparing for this joyous event.
Spring Trail Day - The Exterior Loop Trail is completely clear (see updated trail status above)! On Saturday, March 24 the Wesleyan Environmental Concerns Committee hosted our fourth semiannual trail day. About 15 students, faculty, staff, and family members worked for three hours on three projects:
- repairing erosion damage and reseating the steps on the main entrance trail
- clearing a bypass path for an eroded section of the Ridge (SE) section of the
Exterior Loop Trail
- clearing brush, fallen trees, and invasive plants from the Covington (NW) section
of the Exterior Loop Trail
In the process we got to field-test our new arboretum chainsaw, weed-whacker, and garden cart. With the completion of this work, and for the first time, the entire trail system as designated on the official arb trail map is completely open and accessible. Our thanks to everyone who helped make this trail day a success!
Lamar Lecture Series Art Installation - Wesleyan was honored to have renowned artist Gyun Hur visit the Wesleyan campus and Arboretum this winter as part of the annual Lamar Lecture series. Ms. Hur took a walk through the Arboretum in February, then led a two-day workshop March 13-14. The workshop and exhibit, entitled spiritus lenis (smooth breathing), featured an interrelated set of temporary art installations in the cabin and the pavilion clearing. For Ms. Hur's blog entries on her experiences in the arboretum, click here for her February visit and here for spiritus lenis. A discussion of Ms. Hur's art with an emphasis on the spritus lenis installation may be found on Burnaway.
Ongoing Cabin Improvements - With the help of the Alumnae Association and other benefactors we now have a fully-functional kitchen in the cabin, including:
- pots, pans, a crock-pot, and a microwave
- dishes, glasses, and tableware
- additional wall cabinets in which to store all our new stuff
Pioneer Fest 2011 - On Saturday, November 5 we hosted the first ever Pioneer Fest. About 100 Wesleyan students, faculty, staff, families, and friends gathered for four hours of crafts, games, entertainment, and food. The festivities started at 4PM in the Ellen Ann Edenfield Pavilion with local bluegrass musicians forming a music circle. Kids and the young-at-heart made worry dolls, whirlygigs, and tin can lanterns. Discovery boxes, face-painting, stilt-walking, and jump-rope were also popular. The more adventuresome were treated to guided nature walks along the trails and into the heart of the woods to marvel at the giant tulip poplar. Dinner featured a cook-off with 13 chili and chili-like entrants, bolstered with lots of cornbread and lemonade. As dusk settled we explored our primal creativity with a drum circle, then set off into the darkness for a group lantern walk. The final event was a large capture-the-flag game on the soccer field, aided by authentic pioneer-era glow-bracelets and cell-phones.
Another Fall, Another Trail Day - About 20 students, faculty, staff, family members, and friends put in three hours of hard work on Sunday, October 23, braving poison ivy and some rather annoyed yellow-jacket wasps. We cleared brush and fallen logs from several trails, including the entrance trail from the kiosk, the Wolf Creek (SW) loop of the Exterior Loop Trail, and both cross trails within the interior loop. With this work the entire 2+ mile trail system is now passable, and most of it is completely clear.
Faculty Research Forum Dinner - On October 19th the Wesleyan faculty capped off our annual Faculty Research Symposium presentations with an evening of food and music in the cabin. Our thanks to the musicians who regaled us with bluegrass and traditional folk music, to Sue Yost of Aramark Foods who graciously catered the event, and to Charles Pitts for some last-minute exterior repair and safety work on the entrance ramp.
Cross-Country and Jogging Activity - The interior loop trail has become a regularly used extension of the Mathews Athletic Center, hosting 20-50 joggers, hikers, and strollers each day. The Wesleyan cross-country team and local high schools also train on this trail. Macon's Tattnall Square Academy held the state-wide Tattnall Invitational cross-country race on August 27th and a local meet on October 19th in the Arboretum and Foster Lake area .
More Work on the Cabin - We have continued to upgrade the cabin, including:
- the installation of a wood-burning insert in the fireplace (thanks Pat, Jim,
- the acquisition and/or creation of a northwoods-themed shower curtain,
throw pillows, and furry critter statuary by Dean Vivia Fowler
- the rescue, rebuilding, and repainting by the Fowlers of nine rocking chairs for the
cabin porch, from "rocking chair purgatory" in the warehouse
- the creation and hanging of five amazing paintings by Frances de La Rosa's
Painting classes (click images below for larger versions):
- improvement of the fire circle by Barry
More Work on the Pavilion - Pat Pritchard cut, planed, and generally hewed a good bit of our home-milled pine lumber into picnic table parts. With some weekend help, he put together six sturdy picnic tables to provide permanent seating for 36 people or 48 close friends in the pavilion.
The Ellen Ann Edenfield Pavilion - October 2011
Work on the Cabin and Pavilion - Summer was a busy time and we made a lot of progress turning the cabin and pavilion area into a four-season meeting center. Our thanks to all of our volunteers and especially the Physical Plant crew for much of the heavy lifting, carrying, and trucking. Significant improvements included:
- laying sod around the pavilion to create a graded lawn area - kudos to Pat
for watering it throughout the summer:
The finished pavilion lawn
- furnishing the cabin great room with two 8' oak tables, ladder-back chairs,
sofas, armchairs, end tables, lamps, and a rug
- furnishing the cabin office with a desk, a file cabinet, a storage cabinet, and
a futon couch
- wiring the cabin with two 220-volt outlets
- installing a stove and refrigerator in the cabin kitchen
- installing a window AC/heater unit in the great room
- installing a WiFi hub (thanks, Kevin!)
Arboretum Map and Brochure - The Arboretum was surveyed to produce an accurate topographical map of the trail system, major features, and boundaries. The map has been mounted in the entry kiosk and incorporated it into a tri-fold guide booklet. Here is a link to the map, but be advised that it is a large, layered .pdf file and could take a while to download.
The Pavilion is Finished! - During the week of April 11th, the pavilion roof was framed and completed, using the timbers milled from our own pine trees. The completed pavilion measures 30' x 17' and features an open, gabled roof frame. The next big jobs will be establishing the outdoor fire circle, cleaning up and landscaping the cabin/pavilion area with native plants, and constructing tables and benches.
The completed pavilion
Inside the pavilion
Africa Oasis Project Off Road Race - The Arboretum Interior Loop Trail was featured in an open 5K off-road run on the Wesleyan campus. This was a benefit event for the Africa Oasis Project, which works to bring potable, safe water to local areas in rural Africa where lack of access to clean water poses significant health problems.
Spring Trail Day - Three faculty, two family members, and about 15 students spent the afternoon of April 2 working on the entrance area and the new entrance trail. Tasks included:
- putting the finishing touches on the entrance kiosk
- laying sod and planting the area around the kiosk
- clearing the undergrowth cuttings from the entrance glade
- planting native plants in the entrance glade
- grooming and marking the new Entrance Trail
- building the 10 foot Lower Bridge across Bobcat Creek near the cabin.
Andy Rhoades tests his work on the new Lower Bridge
Pavilion Construction Has Begun! - During the week of March 14th an area near the cabin was cleared for construction of the education pavilion. The concrete foundation, complete with support posts, was framed and poured on March 18th. On Thursday March 24 a portable lumber mill was moved to the cabin clearing and a sawyer team turned our stacked pine logs into 20' sections of 6x8s, 4x6s, 4x4s, 2x8s, 2x6s, and 2x4s. These will be used to frame the roof of the pavilion during the week of March 28th.
1 pile of recently-cut
Wesleyan loblolly pine logs
11 hours of work with
a portable saw mill
3000+ board feet of home-grown
Our thanks to those who came out to help us haul and stack the lumber as it came off the saw. At last reckoning all appendages were accounted for and in their proper places.
Arboretum Entrance Kiosk - During late February and early March 2011 Pat Pritchard led the construction of a new information kiosk to mark the Bob King Drive entrance and trailhead. The kiosk is built of treated wood and cedar planking and features a cedar shake shingle roof. The kiosk will display a map of the arboretum trails, arboretum news and advisories, and hand-out guides to arboretum trails and biological diversity.
Pat Pritchard showing off the completed entrance kiosk, with the recently-
cleared Education Glade and footbridge in the background - March 3, 2011
Education Glade - In early February we called in the professionals again to clear thorny olive and other invasive shrubs from an extended area between Bob King Drive and the bridge. This created an open glade with access to the beaver swamp at the west end. The glade, shaded by massive hardwood trees, will be the site of outdoor educational spaces.
Grassmann Trust Grant - In January of 2011 Wesleyan College received notification of a $15,000 grant from the E.J. Grassmann Trust for continuing development of the educational facilities in the Arboretum. Funds from this grant will be used this winter and spring to:
- construct a kiosk at trailhead of the new Entrance Trail on Bob King Drive
- landscape the kiosk area
- renovate and refurnish the interior of the Anderson Cabin
- install a cable line to the cabin for high-speed internet access
- mill our lumber and construct the new teaching and crafts pavilion
This means that, with the continuing help of our growing army of volunteers, we should be able to complete development of the cabin/pavilion area and much of Phase I of the Arboretum master plan by the end of summer of 2011.
Sunday, October 22, 1-3 PM - Fall Trail Day - More than 35 volunteers worked for 2-4 hours to:
- cut a new Entrance Trail from Bob King Drive 1/3 mile to the Anderson Cabin
- build the 20 foot Upper Bridge across Bobcat Creek on the Entrance Trail
- blaze sections of the trail through dense thickets of privet and thorny olive
The new Entrance Trail is now open for use! Thanks to all who helped in this project.
Students clear the entrance trail and Arboretum Intern Belle Thomas tests the Upper Bridge
Saturday, October 13 - We called in the professionals to re-grade, drag, and seed the Interior Loop Trail to provide for better drainage. Several pine trees near the cabin were cut, sectioned, and stacked to provide timber for building the canopy of the planned teaching and crafts pavilion. Brush was also cleared from the site selected for the new pavilion.
Communities Foundation Grant - In September of 2010 Wesleyan College was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Communities Foundation of Central Georgia for development of educational facilities in the Arboretum. Funds from this grant were applied to re-grading the Interior Loop Trail, creating a new entrance on Bob King Drive and a new access trail to the cabin, controlling invasive plants, restoring native plants, developing educational programs, and hiring a student arboretum intern for 2010-2011.
Bibb County Schools Cross-Country Meet - On Saturday, August 28 Wesleyan hosted several hundred middle school and high school students for a cross-country meet. The new Interior Loop Trail was featured as the central part of the course.
Fitness Loop Trail - Faculty, students, Physical Plant staff, and community volunteers worked over several days during the summer to improve the Main Street and Cabin Road trails, as well as to widen connecting parts of the Pine, Ridge, and Copse Trails. This created a 6'-10' wide, 3/4 mile Interior Loop Trail originating from the arboretum entrance and passing by the Anderson Cabin. On Thursday, August 26th a ribbon cutting ceremony, hosted by President Knox, formally opened this new loop trail.