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Happy Summer!

June is almost over, but summer has just begun in Southern Ontario. Come check out some of our favourite parts of the season!
colour photo of a monarch butterfly resting on some pink flowers
Monarch butterflies return from their migration south - keep an eye out for these colourful travellers on your next visit to The Arb! Photo by Chris Earley.
colour photo of a frog sitting on a rock next to a still pond.colour photo of a frog swimming in a pond next to some rocks
Green frogs find many places to cool down in our ponds. Photos by Chris Earley.
colour photo of a large shrub with big fluffy pink flowersclose up colour photo of white hydrangea flowers
Smoketree (Cotinus sp.) and hydrangea are beginning to flower. You can see species from both of these genera near our College Avenue entrance! Photos by Sean Fox.

Mtigwaaki Trail Opening

colour photo of a forest trail with a yellow interpretive sign next to it
We are excited to announce the opening of our newest interpretive trail! This nature trail was developed by former intern Brad Howie working with Anishinaabe Elders and Knowledge Holders as well as Anishinaabe environmental scientists. The trail contains four interpretive signs within Victoria Woods that are designed to foster viewers understanding of the forest from an Anishinabek perspective and call them to act on how we can better treat Mother Earth. Check it out on your next walk!

Try our tree ID quiz!

Using the photos provided, how many of these trees can you identify? 

colour photo of a twig with four corky ridgescolour photo of a green compound leaf with nine leaflets



Answers: 1. Blue Ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata) 2. Red Maple (Acer rubrum) 3. Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) 4. Chinquapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii). Photos by Sean Fox.

How'd you do on our quiz? If you were stumped by anything, check out our upcoming Tree Identification Workshop. Shelley Hunt, U of G course instructor and former Arboretum Director, will lead you in a series of virtual, interactive tree identification workshops, with an optional in-person session available. Over the course of 4 Zoom sessions, with hands-on challenges to complete in between, you will learn the basics of tree ID, with a focus on native Ontario species (and their look-alike non-native counterparts). You will learn about the important features to look for (e.g. leaf shape and arrangement, bark characteristics, fruits and cones), as well as the details that help us to distinguish between species in the same group (e.g. Ashes, Pines, Maples). You will practice your skills on trees that you can find in your local area, and get feedback on your ‘homework’. The fourth session will include a virtual tour of trees in The Arboretum's collections.

There will also be an optional in-person tour of The Arboretum grounds on August 4th to explore tree identification with Shelley outdoors! All of the virtual workshops are included in the in-person registration, so if you sign up for the in-person tour, you do not need to register for the virtual sessions as well.

Sessions will run from noon-1:00 PM (one hour of instruction, and up to 30 minutes of optional questions/discussion) on Thursdays from July 7th through to July 28th. All virtual sessions will be recorded and will be made available to registrants afterwards, so you can still participate in this workshop if you can't attend live!

Upcoming Workshops


Animal Rehabilitation Day 1 -  Baby Rabbits colour photo of a baby cottontail rabbit
Been outside and encountered a baby wild animal? Don’t know what to do or if it needs help?? Join us over the lunch hour for a virtual session on how to handle finding a baby wild rabbit. Learn how to detect if they need your help. We will go through their natural history, what a healthy versus unhealthy baby looks like (how to check), and case studies! No prior wildlife knowledge required.  Jul 4

Animal Rehabilitation Day 2 -  Ducklings and Goslings colour photo of a yellow duckling standing next to water
Join us over the lunch hour for the second virtual session in this wildlife education series! How to handle finding a baby duck or goose. Learn how to detect if they need your help, and the proper precautions to take for preventing the spread of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). We will go through their natural history, what a healthy versus unhealthy baby looks like, some common signs of illnesses, and how you can help! No prior wildlife knowledge required. Jul 11

close up photo of hands holding some featherless baby birdsAnimal Rehabilitation Day 3 - Baby Songbirds 
Join us over the lunch hour for the third virtual session in this wildlife education series! How to handle finding a baby songbird. Learn how to detect if they need your help (is it just a fledgling learning to fly or is it a hatchling or nestling in need?) We will go through their natural history, what a healthy versus unhealthy baby looks like, and how you can help! No prior wildlife knowledge required. Jul 13

Animal Rehabilitation Day 4 -  Baby Opossums colour photo of an opossum facing the camera
Join us over the lunch hour for the fourth virtual session in this wildlife education series! How to handle finding a baby opossum. Learn how to detect if they need your help (unlike other species, the babies stay with their mum for a while!) We will go through their natural history, what a healthy versus unhealthy baby looks like, and how you can help! No prior wildlife knowledge required.  Jul 18

close up photo of a chipmunkAnimal Rehabilitation Day 5 - Baby Squirrels and Chipmunks 
Join us over the lunch hour for the virtual fifth and final session in this wildlife education series! How to handle finding a baby squirrel or chipmunk. Learn how to detect if they need your help. We will go through their natural history (did you know chipmunks don’t nest in trees??), what a healthy versus unhealthy baby looks like, how to tell the difference between baby squirrels and chipmunks, and how you can help! No prior wildlife knowledge required.  Jul 20

colour photo of a hand holding a bright green maple leafVirtual Tree Identification 
Do you love trees but can’t tell an Ash from a Walnut, a Birch from a Beech, or a Spruce from a Fir? Are you looking to connect more with the natural world around you? Join Shelley Hunt, U of Guelph course instructor and former Arboretum Director, for a virtual, interactive tree identification workshop. Over the course of 4 Zoom sessions, with hands-on challenges to complete in between, you will learn the basics of tree ID, with a focus on native Ontario species (and their look-alike non-native counterparts). Virtual workshops will be recorded and sent out to registrants, so you can catch up on any that you might miss or rewatch them to refresh your knowledge! Thursdays Jul 7-28

colour photo of a bright green oak leafTree Identification (Virtual and In-person session)
Join Shelley Hunt for an in-person session on The Arboretum grounds to explore tree Identification. This workshop includes the virtual sessions listed and described above. The virtual session is included in the in-person session, so if you are registering for the in-person session you should not register for the virtual session. You will automatically receive the link for the virtual sessions with your registration and the link to the recordings after each session. Thursdays Jul 7-28, Aug 4

colour photo taken over the shoulder of a woman who is painting the landscape in front of her with watercolour paintsIn-Person Plein Air Painting
Spend the afternoon plein air painting with watercolour artist Candice Leyland. Candice will show you her approach to painting landscapes outdoors and inspire you to create your own unique paintings of the Arboretum grounds. Students will have plenty of opportunity to receive feedback on their work and a Group Critique at the end of class will give students an opportunity to share their work and learn from each other as well. What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon! Oct 2

colour photo of someone's hands painting watercolour fall leavesVirtual Paint Fall Leaves in Watercolour
This class covers basic watercolour techniques such as colour mixing, glazing and the wet in wet technique. We will learn how to mix a variety of fall colours and paint beautiful fall leaves. Perfect for absolute beginners. Oct 17

All of our virtual programs are offered live on Zoom, and recordings are made available for registrants to access for a limited time. Visit our website to learn more about these and our other programs. Register early to save your spot!

Wednesday Walks!

colour photo of snowdrops
Wednesday Noon Hour Walks

Nature is known to be unpredictable and unexpected, so what awaits us today? Michelle, The Arboretum's Naturalist Intern, will be leading free 1 hour long walks every Wednesday. Walks start at The Arboretum kiosk at 12:15pm. For more information contact Michelle at or ext. 53615.
Please note that the hike may be cancelled if there is inclement weather. Cancellations are posted on our social media pages.

We kindly ask that walk participants follow the current University Covid protocols. Current protocols can be found here.

Wednesday Evening Walks

Topics for the July Wednesday Evening Walks have been announced! Join us each Wednesday for the months of July and August at the J.C. Nature Center from 7:00 to 8:30 PM to explore a different aspects of the world around us! 

July 6: Early Birds and Night Owls
If the early bird gets the worm, what does the night owl get? Come learn about how plants and animals are adapted to being awake and active at different times of the day!

July 13: It's Better Down Where its Wetter
Ever wonder what things lie below the surface of a pond? Then join us for a pond study where we will explore the diverse and amazing pond life we can find here in The Arboretum!

July 20: Anybody Home?
Animals are outstanding architects and they make some incredible nests, burrows, dens, hives, and webs that house and feed them. Join us as we learn about how different animals make their impressive homes!

July 27: Splendid Spiders
Spiders are often misunderstood and considered scary, but here at The Arboretum, we think they're pretty neat! This week, we will be going on a spider hunt to see what splendid spiders call The Arb home and dispel some common spider myths along the way! So whether you love them or hate them, join us and you will certainly gain a greater appreciations for these tiny creatures!

Suggested donation of $2 per person and free for kids under 5. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Christa at We can’t wait to see you there!  

International Student Walk

Colour photo of a tulip tree flower with text on it that reads 'ISE Arboretum Walk - Nature in Our Backyard - Wednesday July 20th at the Arboretum Kiosk 1:30-2:30 pm. Come explore the Arb's hidden gems. Email for inquiries.

In collaboration with International Student Experience, we are offering a nature walk for International Students and New Canadians, which aims to help those new to the area feel more connected to the environment and at home in a new country.  With summer around the corner and things warming up, now is the time to visit!

Are you an international student and/or new to Canada? Come with us to explore the “Green Heart of Guelph” right in our campus backyard. Join us as we take a scenic tour through The Arboretum and become more connected to the natural environment and learn about the different flora and fauna in our area. 

This free in-person program is scheduled for July 20th, 2022 from 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm. These walks are part of an ongoing program created by the Arboretum to welcome and integrate international students and other newcomers to Canada into the community. Not only do these walks allow for mental health breaks, but they serve as an introduction to Canadian wildlife as well as an opportunity to meet new people.

What To See

To learn more about what is happening or what to look out for at The Arboretum please follow us on social media. We are on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Search for us at @uogarboretum.
[Click on the photos below to see the posts and more on Instagram.]

a colour photo of a hawk perched on a bird feeder roofYou never know who’s going to show up to a bird feeder. This young Red-tailed Hawk seems to think we put this bird feeder up for him. Who’s visiting your feeder this morning?

colour photo of a porcupine in an animal carrier with its paws holding the barsLet me out! I’m ready! Patty the Porcupine was released back into The Arboretum after being rescued a year ago as an orphaned baby. She was found by Myla Krudwig and her parents during a Mother’s Day hike and was cared for by Wildlife Haven Waterloo for the next year. After getting out of her crate and taking a couple of confused steps, Patty headed for an Eastern Hemlock and did her first big tree climb. And she did it very successfully! Good luck, Patty! Special thanks to Myla and Wildlife Haven Waterloo! For those interested, we are offering some virtual wildlife rehab courses here at The Arboretum starting in early July - check out our website for details.

colour photo of peachy pink bellshaped flowersHave you seen the perennial Sun Garden in The Edna and Frank C. Miller English Garden yet? The bright yellow, orange and peach-coloured flowers are a beautiful sight to see in contrast to the blues and whites of the neighbouring Sky Garden.

A Land Before Time

Michelle Beltran, Naturalist Intern

Like any science fiction fan, I can understand that time travel is a tricky business. What I can’t wrap my mind around is how much our planet has changed. Luckily for us, we don’t need to time travel to meet some living relics of a land before time. The Arboretum is full of organisms that have survived the test of time.

Our old-growth forests are full of moss. These small, modest plants are actually quite ancient. Mosses have been around for about 350 million years. Throughout its millions of years of existence, moss has maintained an ancient lifestyle. Instead of using seeds for reproduction, mosses use spores. Spores are tiny. Their small and lightweight nature allows them to disperse through the air. Seeds are larger and more complex, with different seeds developing different features to aid in their dispersal and success, like hard seed coats that can withstand the stomach acid of an animal or nutritional packets called endosperm that help establish seedlings. Moss is living proof that primitive traits can be just as good as complex traits. Both spore and seed producing plants are successful.
close up colour photo of bright green moss
Moss. Photo by Michelle Beltran.

Flowers are all around The Arboretum. It’s hard to imagine a world without flowers. But it was only recently, in terms of geological history, that flowers stepped onto our landscape. About 130 million years ago, the first flowering plants, such as magnolias, appeared. Magnolias have large showy flowers. You’d think they’d attract bees, but it’s actually beetles that pollinate magnolias. Different flowers are adapted to attract different pollinators. In this case, the wide petals provide the perfect landing spot for clumsy beetles.
colour photo of a yellow cucumber magnolia flower with long yellow-green petals
Cucumber Magnolia (Magnolia acuminata) flower. Photo by Chris Earley.

For about 90 million years, the Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) has roamed the planet. We’re lucky to have these prehistoric beauties on The Arboretum grounds. The ecological role that snapping turtles play in the environment isn’t a glamorous one, but it is crucial. Snapping turtles eat dead things. They scavenge aquatic environments, cleaning up the water they live in. Despite their resilience throughout the years, snapping turtles are now a species at risk in Ontario. Roads often pose the biggest threat for turtles. If you see a turtle crossing the road, safely pulling over and allowing it to cross can have a huge impact on turtle conservation.
close up colour photo of the head of a snapping turtle poking out from its shell
Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina). Photo by Michelle Beltran

Next time you walk through The Arboretum, keep an eye out for the many living fossils that exist on the grounds!

Outdoor Wedding Ceremonies at The Arb

two photos side by side. the first is a picture of pink peony flowers with conifer trees in the background. The second is an aerial photo of a garden bed with peonies and conifer trees.
Looking for somewhere to host your outdoor wedding ceremony? The Conifer Outdoor Ceremony Site is a beautiful, secluded one-acre green space nestled within our Conifer Collection. It is a separate location from the OAC Arboretum Centre rental for ceremonies only, with free parking, use of the site from dawn until dusk, and a garden featuring tree peonies that flower in late spring and Japanese anemones that bloom in late summer and early fall. 

For availability, rental rates and reservation, contact Dawn Ann Webster at 519-824-4120 ext. 54110 or

In the Ecosystem


Want to learn more about the relationship between native plants and polinators in your garden? Lorraine Johnson and Sheila Colla's new book, A Garden for the Rusty Patched Bumblebee is a practical guide to creating native pollinator habitats in Southern Ontario. This book covers over 300 native perennials, trees, shrubs, and grasses that can be used to enhance the diversity of your garden, with beautiful hand drawn illustrations. It also features gardening tips, sample garden designs, and plant pairings to help gardeners support native pollinators in the Great Lakes region. 

If you're interested in this book, join Campbell House Museum for an in-person conversation with Lorraine Johnson on pollinator gardens, as well as a tour of the museum gardens. This event celebrates the publication of the book. Following the conversation and garden tour, attendees will have to opportunity to see two of the museum's art exhibits that focus on bees. This event takes place Wednesday, July 6th at 7pm. Learn more or purchase tickets here! 

Donation and Dedications

Donations to The Arboretum help support education and employment opportunities for students beyond graduation. Arboretum internships provide an environment for recent graduates to gain employment experience while learning and exploring their further career and education interests. Check out some of the things our interns have been doing this past year! 

Gifts to the Arboretum are tax deductible. Join our community of supporters today with a gift through our online donation portal. 

We can accept donations of shares and in-kind contributions of appreciated securities. Donors receive full tax credit for the fair-market value.

Contact our director, Justine Richardson, to discuss how you can help.


colour photo of green buffs with a pattern of leaves on themLooking to upgrade your outdoor style this summer? Our custom edition Buffs are perfect for keeping the sun and bugs off your neck, or your hair out of your face. These UPF 50 protection and moisture wicking Buffs are made from CoolNet UV+® technology and 95% recycled materials. Each design features the leaves of 5 different tree species, and the logos of The Arboretum and UofG. They can be styled and worn in over 10 different ways. Wear them any way you like to show of your support of The Arb this summer!

Visit our Merchandise shop to order today or to check out our other cool products and educational materials.

Ways you can connect with The Arboretum

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.
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camera icon for photo creditThe header of this month's newsletter is alternate-leaved dogwood in bloom. Photo by Sean Fox.