Arbor Week At The Morton Arboretum

(News Release) It's an incredible story. A NASA astronaut rockets into orbit, looks at earth from his space shuttle window, and is changed forever by what he sees. Motivated to help save the planet, he plants 140,000 trees.

Former astronaut Mark Lee delivers an enlightening presentation featuring NASA video that few have seen in "Meet the Tree Advocate Astronaut," May 2, at The Morton Arboretum. It's one of the Arboretum's special activities to celebrate trees and the environment, and to encourage everyone to plant and protect trees during Arbor Week, which runs from Earth Day, April 22 through Arbor Day, April 30, and ending on May 2.

Activities kick off with a display of amazing, eco-friendly products made of recycled materials or common household items in "Sustainable With Style: A Green Boutique and Garden Expo," April 24-25.

"The surprising products from more than two dozen vendors, and the influential speakers, will inspire all of us to appreciate the value of trees and other gifts from Mother Earth, and encourage us to reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever possible," says Marilyn Baysek, Arboretum Special Events Manager.

Visitors can marvel at candy wrapper purses, typewriter key jewelry, and perhaps the one that's clever beyond compare: paper brought to you by…elephants!

The note paper is made of elephant droppings and rice paddies! The elephant waste is sanitized, made into pulp, and the soft, thick, acid-free paper that results is clean, odorless, and eco-friendly.

There are also nylon "bowls" made of 1970s-era record albums, still bearing their original labels, creatively molded upward into a lovely, fluted shape. The bowls are suitable for holding popcorn or candy.

See how an artist incorporated the covers of baseballs into purses; how kitchen tools became wind chimes; and how recycled felt wool sweaters got new "life" as flowers, pins, gloves, scarves, and other items suitable for gifts.

Also during the expo, speakers will reveal ways to incorporate green practices at your home and business. Presentations will center on ways to recycle effectively; use professional garden design principles; how to use the most cutting-edge technology to capture and reuse rainwater efficiently; and even how to apply "green" principles in entertaining guests at home. Finally, local author Shawna Lee Coronado signs copies of her new book, Gardening Nude.

The Arboretum Store will present one of the most beloved children's characters ever: Curious George, on Arbor Day, April 30. "George" will be on hand as the Store features the new book: Curious George Plants A Tree." He will shake hands and pose for pictures, and will also lead a parade from the Children's Garden to the official, Arboretum tree planting which starts at 11 a.m.

Kids will have plenty to do in the award-winning Children's Garden. In addition to playing in any of the ten gardens within, they can make a "mini greenhouse" inside a necklace during a self-guided, drop-in activity, April 24-25. And from April 30 – May 2, youngsters can plant tree seeds to take home, sing tree songs, and help decorate a special Arbor Day Tribute Tree.

The Arboretum Arbor Day Plant Sale this year is open to the general public for an extra half-day – starting on Saturday, May 1, at noon, and closes May 2 at 4 p.m. (The sale is restricted to Arboretum members only from April 30 – May 1 at noon). There are 400 varieties of cutting edge trees, shrubs, and other plants that are not readily available at garden shops.

Meet celebrated artist Michael Michaud as he makes a special appearance to display his "Silver Seasons" jewelry, capturing the beauty and exquisite detail of nature in metal. The artist uses bronze, sterling silver, gold, and pearls in creating stunning works. All ages, The Arboretum Store. May 2: Noon – 3 p.m.

As visitors pay their Arboretum admission on Arbor Day, they will receive a coupon allowing them one free return visit in 2010. Unless otherwise specified, all Arboretum events and destinations including the Children's Garden are free with Arboretum admission. The 2010 rates are: $11/adult, ($7 on Wednesday), ages 18-64 $10/senior, ($6 on Wednesday), ages 65 and over $8/child ($5 on Wednesday), ages 2-17 Under age 2 is free Parking is free.

The Morton Arboretum is a world-renowned leader in tree science and education, working to save and plant trees. The 1,700-acre outdoor museum features magnificent collections of 4,117 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission – the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. Central Time until sunset. The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through October, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through February. Visit

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