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State of Montana ArboretUM hosts a series of tree tours, guided forest bathing

University of Montana campus; photo taken from the State of Montana ArboretUM’s website.

Fisher Ream, an AmeriCorps VISTA member who works at the State of Montana ArboretUM on the University of Montana Missoula campus, speaks with Lauren Korn about the ArboretUM’s summer and fall tree tours, as well as guided “forest bathing.” Note: All events begin at the The Root, located between Main Hall and the University Center in Missoula.

Saturday, June 11: Literary Trees Tour

Robert Stubblefield, a lecturer of Creative Writing at the University of Montana for more than twenty years, has curated a literary experience from trees in the State of Montana ArboretUM collection. Featured will be Montana authors like Dorothy Johnson: graduate of the University of Montana, faculty member in the School of Journalism, and author of “The Hanging Tree,” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” and “A Man Called Horse.” Robert will be joined by Kelly Chadwick, a.k.a. the UM Plant Lady, University Center Garden Manager for over thirty-seven years, the longest-serving member of the State of Montana ArboretUM Committee, and a leader of the Montana Native Botanic Gardens.

Sunday, June 12 and 19: Forest Bathing at the State of Montana ArboretUM

Certified Forest Therapy guide Deborah Goslin will lead participants in Shinrin-Yoku, or “forest bathing.” “Forest Therapy is a relational practice that brings people into deeper intimacy with natural places…. There are many wonderful health benefits attributed to forest therapy, including boosted immune function, improved cardiovascular and respiratory health, attention restoration and a reduction in stress and depression. But these effects are really the collateral impacts of a repaired relationship between people and places. Especially for those dealing with ecological grief, the restoration of relationship to place is the beginning of the healing process.”

Registration is limited and participants are encouraged to register in advance.

Saturday, July 9: Children’s Tree Tour

Annie Garde, retired MTPR Children’s Program Director and former host of the Pea Green Boat, and Adam Coe of the Missoula Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry Division have collaborated to create a tour of stories and basic tree knowledge for children in sixth grade or younger. Parents will also enjoy learning about tree species on the University of Montana campus! Come experience the SMA forest through the eyes of an arborist!

Saturday, August 13: University of Montana Campus History Tour

Philip Maechling, a former Missoula Historic Preservation Officer, will discuss the history of the University of Montana campus and the State of Montana ArboretUM. While guiding participants through a tour of campus and the arboretum, Philip will discuss the struggle involved with balancing the preservation of architecture and green and open space amidst university expansion and growth.

Saturday, September 10: Montana Native Trees Tour

Kelly Chadwick and Peter Lesica of the Montana Native Plant Society (Clark Fork Chapter) will lead a tour showcasing ten of the thirty-two native tree species of Montana. These trees survive varying climates and elevations with their evolutionary advantages having developed over thousands of years.

Saturday, October 8: Champion Trees Tour

Join the ArboretUM for a tour of the State of Montana ArboretUM’s sixteen champion trees! Champion trees are classified as the largest of their species within the state of Montana in an urban setting. Mark Lewing, a big tree hunter, discusses the qualifications and measurement of trees in the Department of Natural Resources Big Trees’ program.

State of Montana ArboretUM Tree Tours, 2022.

Lauren R. Korn holds an M.A. in poetry from the University of New Brunswick, where she was the recipient of the Tom Riesterer Memorial Prize and the Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize. A former bookseller and the former Director of the Montana Book Festival, she is now the host of Montana Public Radio’s literature-based radio program and podcast, ‘The Write Question.’