Viles Arboretum Announces Leadership Transition

Viles Arboretum, a renowned hub for outdoor recreation and learning in Augusta, today announces a significant change in its executive leadership. Ryan Martin, who has served as the Executive Director since June 2020, will step down from his position effective January 1. Aleta McKeage, an environmental scientist with a history of collaboration with the Arboretum, will take over as the Interim Executive Director. 

Governor Mills Declares November 24 as Maine Grown Christmas Tree Day

Christmas Trees and wreaths grown in Maine generate $18 million in annual economic impact 

Augusta, MAINE – The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) announced today that Governor Janet Mills has proclaimed Friday, November 24, 2023, as “Maine Grown Christmas Tree Day” in recognition of the contributions and economic impact of Maine’s Christmas Tree industry.

Viles Arboretum Receives $25,800 Boost from Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund for Forest of the Future Project

In a significant stride towards sustainable forestry practices, Viles Arboretum has been awarded $25,800 from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund to bolster its Forest of the Future Project. The funding comes at a crucial juncture, providing vital support to an ongoing initiative that delves into climate-smart forestry practices, assisted migration, and the utilization of transgenic species to prepare Maine’s forests against a rapidly changing climate.

Fairytales and Fungi: The Magical World of Amanita Muscaria

While looking out the window of my office on a gray October morning I noticed an abundance of mushrooms had sprouted up on the lawn seemingly overnight. Considering this wasn’t the busiest morning at the Arboretum, we decided to pop down to investigate and see if the mushrooms might inspire some content to work on during a slow day in the office. Few lawn mushrooms could be quite as inspiring as what we found, Amanita muscaria, also known as the fly agaric.

A Guide to Autumn at the Arboretum

As the days get shorter and the air becomes cooler, you can feel a noticeable change in the world. The leaves, dressed in shades of gold, amber, and crimson, slowly fall to the ground like a beautiful painting created by nature itself. Have you ever wondered why leaves change color in the fall? It's like a magical makeover that trees put on, and it's all thanks to some pretty cool science. Let's learn why it happens, and where at the Arboretum you can see these beautiful colors for yourself!

2023 State of Maine Fall Foliage Forecast

September 13, 2023, AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) fall foliage spokesperson Gale Ross has announced the start of foliage season throughout the state. The first 2023 Maine Fall Foliage Report, issued each Wednesday throughout the foliage season, reports very little color change throughout the state.

Help Us Launch Our New Community Agriculture Program

Viles Arboretum is excited to introduce our new Community Agriculture Program (CAP), scheduled to launch in 2024. After dedicated efforts over the past several years by our gardeners, we paused the community garden for 2023 and used the year to assess the program. Through careful research, planning, and collaboration, a clear blueprint has been developed, setting the stage for the program's relaunch.

New Boardwalk now open at Viles Arboretum

Viles Arboretum is excited to announce the completion of its Wetland Boardwalk Project! Located on the Outer Loop trail, the boardwalk takes visitors on an immersive journey through a stunning wetland area that is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. It also provides opportunities to observe a diverse variety of wildlife, including mink, herons, frogs, and turtles. 

First Occurrence of Mile-a-Minute Weed Confirmed in Maine

The Maine Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry (DACF) has recently verified the first known occurrence of mile-a-minute weed (Persicaria perfoliata) in Maine. This fast-growing invasive vine, native to India, Asia, and the Philippine Islands, poses a significant threat to nurseries, Christmas tree farms, reforestation projects, and restoration areas, as it can smother young plants and trees under its dense growth.

Our Approach to Invasives

For all the resources that are (rightfully) dedicated to climate change, much less consideration is given to its parallel relationship with Biodiversity. Biodiversity is the central organizing principle that creates resilience in habitats and ecosystems worldwide. For those not familiar with the concept of biodiversity, simply put it is used to define the “variety of living organisms” found in a defined ecosystem or habitat. Ecosystems and habitats with high biodiversity have a higher resilience to change while those with low biodiversity are more likely to see major breakdowns in ecosystem functioning with the addition of stressors such as climate change, disease and invasive species.