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Young at Heart March 2023

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Young at Heart The Arboretum at UCSC: a Great Place to Explore Whether you are a regular or a first-time ex- plorer, when you visit the Arboretum and Botanic Garden at UC Santa Cruz you are in for a treat. Plus, if you're interested in vol- unteer opportunities, it's got plenty of those! First, the basics: it's a unique, beautiful, and vital "living museum" that draws both local visitors and people from across the country and even the world. Some stumble on it as a pleasant place to explore nature; others intentionally make trips to study specific plants— whether for their own curiosity or for scholarly or scientific purposes. The Arboretum covers 135 acres, and the collec- tion includes represen- tatives of more than 300 plant families of Mediter- ranean climates. As the website states, there are "rare and threatened plants of unusual scientific inter- est…particular specialties are world conifers, prim- itive angiosperms, and bulb-forming plant fam- ilies. Large assemblages of plants from Australia, New Zealand, South Afri- ca, and California natives are displayed…many of the species are not other- wise available for study in American botanical gardens and arboreta." "Our Southern Hemi- sphere collections (New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia), and our Conifers, are the best such collections in the North- ern hemisphere," says Martin Quigley, Executive Director of the Arboretum and Botanic Garden. With so many intriguing areas to choose from, it can be overwhelming if you're a first-time visitor. I asked Quigley for rec- ommendations on 'don't miss' spots: "The Aus- tralian Garden and South African Garden—these are great examples of year-round color with NO supplemental irrigation," he says. "Also, don't miss the Aroma and Succulent Gardens and the Califor- nia Conservation Gar- dens." All of these areas have an added bonus of being delightful places to take a walk. You don't have to worry about visiting during a certain season: "It's important to note that the collections ALWAYS have something blooming, with the big displays starting with the first rains," ex- plains Quigley. "We don't have 'spring' in April/ May, unlike the temperate zone of most of North America." If you want to see the most flowers right now, these are appearing in the Australian and South African gardens. You are welcome to walk around on your own. If you prefer a guided tour, there are docent-led garden tours on the first Saturday of each month. There are also bird tours on Thursday mornings. Both of these are fine for people of all ages and physical conditions. "All the paths are easily walked, with very few slopes or steps," notes Quigley. "There is wheel- chair access through much of the gardens." The Arboretum's grounds are well known for the opportunity to view many birds. "Spring is an amazing time of year to visit," says Erin Copp, Administrative and Volunteer Program Assis- tant for the Arboretum. "The gardens provide habitat for a tremendous bird population. We have hummingbirds, red tail hawks, sparrows, chick- adees, owls– you name it!" If you're interested By Tara Fatemi Walker Young at Heart In Santa Cruz County Special Advertising Supplement to the Santa Cruz Sentinel Continued on page 2 March 2023 edition Arboretum -Contributed photo

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