Current art exhibit is “Finite and Alive”

On Saturday, August 15, a reception was held for the artist Rebecca Clark and her drawings, Finite and Alive.

Against the background of a beautiful native plant flower arrangement and a delicious spread of yummy food and wine, the public was treated to an up-close and personal opportunity to get to know Rebecca and to inquire about her style, technique, and the message behind her work.

The drawings in the gallery, on view through October 2, invite the viewer to examine closely the beauty and mystery of the vibrantly alive and the spirit that lingers after the death of a creature.

Using graphite, watercolor, and colored pencils, her delicate yet strong portrayal of birds, oysters, a deer, a fox, and other environmental subjects was inspiring to both artists and non-artists.

Kestrel 1 (Again, Alive, for Richard Skelton), graphite on paper, 16

Kestrel 1 (Again, Alive, for Richard Skelton), graphite on paper, 16″ x 20″

Reynard, graphite on paper, 30

Reynard, graphite on paper, 30″ x 22″

Oyster 11, graphite, colored pencil, watercolor pastel and oil pastel on paper, 11

Oyster 11, graphite, colored pencil, watercolor pastel and oil pastel on paper, 11″ x 14″

Rebecca, late for having been caught in a Bay Bridge back-up, entered the gallery smiling and relaxed, to applause from us all. She made herself available to her friends and new folks who sought to connect with her and her work.

The underlying message, a ‘memento mori’ that all of life is transient, emphasizes, in her words, “the interconnectedness in nature and our loss of connection  with the sacred.”

Treat yourself to this show and be drawn into a quiet and introspective investigation of the creatures we share this planet with in various stages of their life cycles.  And check out her very lovely website for even more of this artist’s inspiring vision.

by Anna Harding
Arboretum docent, Maryland Master Naturalist

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Red-winged Blackbird / The Epaulet Bird

Originally posted on brighamstephen:

Red-winged Blackbird-0201 Agelaius phoeniceus

Epaulets have been around since the 17th century signifying military rank, authority, and strength, projecting power over all who may doubt. Over the years they got bigger and more gawdy with ridiculous tassels and fringes to where they got into the way of actually fighting the war.  A colorful form of them also appears on the academic robes at each graduation season.  Chief Justice Rehnquist surprised us when he donned them on his judicial robe at the impeachment trial of President Clinton.  In all cases they make a statement; I’m important, don’t mess with me.

King Oscar II of Sweden King Oscar II of Sweden

Who has not welcomed the trill of the Red-winged Blackbird in early spring, beating its rivals to the prime marshland and grassy fields, staking out a breeding territory for the season.  I know this is a common North American bird, seen coast to coast and Canada to Mexico…

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August at the Arboretum

photo by Joanne Murphy

photo by Joanne Murphy

What is there to see and do at Adkins Arboretum in August?

I am so glad you asked! Last week we saw four adult turkeys walking their young along the meadow and a doe and a fawn mid-day. This morning I spotted a great blue heron in the wetland. This afternoon, Master Naturalist and photographer Ann Rohlfing spotted the larva of the American dagger moth. There are plenty of dragonflies, lizards, and hummingbirds to see. Visitors have reported indigo buntings, goldfinch, and bluebirds, and they have reported snakes basking in the sun on the trails.

photo by Kellen McCluskey

photo by Kellen McCluskey

Did you know it’s about ten degrees cooler walking under the tree canopy in the woods? For kids, the Funshine Garden is waiting to be watered and weeded. Everyone is welcome to help and get their hands dirty!

photo by Kellen McCluskey

photo by Kellen McCluskey

by Robyn Affron
Master Naturalist

The word on worms

As someone who sunburns easily, I have empathy for earthworms. I used to think that these squiggly pink charmers emerged from the earth on rainy days to avoid drowning in soggy soil. Not so! As it turns out, rainy, cloudy days are the only days worms can surface. Why?  Without moisture, the slimy coating that protects worms will dry out. To sum it up, a sunny day equals doomsday for our earthworm friends.

Photo courtesy of Fir0002/Flagstaffotos

Photo courtesy of Fir0002/Flagstaffotos

Which is why rainy days are such fun for children. As long as no thunder or lightning threatens, consider digging out that seldom-used rain gear in preparation for an earthworm adventure. The joy of stomping in puddles is only heightened by counting, touching, scooping, and dangling earthworms. If interest begins to wane, pull out a roll of tinfoil and make impromptu puddle boats. There should be plenty of mud for mixing up a batch of mud pies once the puddles have begun to dry.

What to do once your rainy day adventurers are tired? Snuggling up with one of my wigglewagglecoverfavorite worm-centric children’s books, Wiggle and Waggle, is sure to entertain. And while I don’t usually advocate TV time for kids, there’s no shame in watching an episode of Kratt’s Creatures or Wild Kratts. After all, it’s thanks to the Kratt brothers that I first learned why worms so love their rainy days.

Wiggle and Waggle, along with many other delightful books for children and adults, is available for purchase at the Arboretum’s gift shop. Come browse in the cool!

by Jenny Houghton
Youth Program Coordinator

“Bugging” the Dog Days of Summer


“…a day birding is never wasted. There’s always something to see and photograph.” Wise words and gorgeous photos. This is a wonderful blog to follow, especially for those of us near the Chesapeake.

Originally posted on brighamstephen:

Monarch Monarch

If “birding’ is now the accepted verbiage for bird-watching, then “bugging” must also be an okay description for my recently acquired interest in the orders Lepidoptera (butterflies & moths) and Odonata (dragonflies & damselflies), of the Class Insecta and Phylum Arthropoda.  Several years ago while birding with talented guides in Cape Cod and Cape May I was impressed with their ability to identify insects that flew by and their knowledge about their life cycles, migratory habits, etc.  But it all makes sense–you are outside, enjoying our natural world, and can’t always find a bird, especially in the dog days.  Why not branch out and learn about the bugs.  After all many fly, are quite beautiful, a food source for many birds, and have compelling life stories of their own.  I’m mainly talking about butterflies, moths, dragonflies, and damselflies.

IMG_1011 Palamedes Swallowtail

Until recently I did not fully comprehend the complete…

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