Are "tree-free" alternatives good for Maine's forest? - an opinion piece

I’d like to preface this by saying that no, not all forestry practices across the world can be considered sustainable. There are even some current practices in the State of Maine that couldn’t receive that level of praise. As with all industries, there are some groups that do better than others in considering the well being of the ecosystems they depend on for their products. However, there has been a lot of rhetoric recently which claims that we could replace our need for forest products all together with fast growing crops such as hemp or bamboo. While the use of these products for fiber has merit, and should be considered, it is not likely that these products will be a sustainable option to replace the need for forest harvesting here in Maine. 


The “Forest of the Future '' collection at Viles Arboretum is a series of tree installations designed to take visitors through an immersive, placed-based journey into Maine’s future woodlands. A whimsical concept, grounded in cutting-edge science which demonstrates many of the practices and technologies that Maine landowners can adopt as our State mobilizes to adapt to the impacts of climate change. This collection will have three planting sites, each of which demonstrates key technologies and tools in our fight against climate change.

Arboretum Membership Program

Our members are a critical component to the success of the Arboretum. In 2022, over $30,000 was raised through memberships, which helped to support:

    • Free, year-round access to our trails and botanical gardens.
    • Youth programs and summer camp
    • Educational programs and events for adults and children
    • Free ski and snowshoe rentals for children
    • Interactive and educational exhibits
    • Maintenance of dozens of botanical collections
    • Development of new climate research project
    • Conservation of our natural environment 

Winter Recreation Safety

There is no better way to beat cabin fever than digging out your skis, snowshoes or hiking cleats. As we finally begin to see snow accumulation here in Maine, more people will be seeking opportunities and recreate outdoors. Even on one of the many mild winter days we have experienced this winter when the sun is shining and temperatures hover around 40 degrees, it is important to take safety seriously and be prepared for you activity.

Spring Blooms from Last Season's Fall Bulbs

If you have been in our Visitor Center recently you may have noticed we recently received a generous donation of fall bulbs from a local retailer that wasn't able to sell them. While the best way to a bounty of spring flowers from bulbs such as tulips is to sow them directly in the ground in the fall, past seasons bulbs can still be planted for future blooms in the spring. 

A new April Break opportunity for youth ages 10 to 14

We are excited to announce the creation of a new April Break opportunity for youth at Viles Arboretum; The Garden-to-Table Youth Workshop.

Get excited for summer camp at Viles Arboretum!

We are excited to announce some exciting new changes to our existing youth summer programs at Viles Arboretum!

Exciting Programs and Events for 2023

Viles Arboretum is excited to announce the arrival of exciting new programs and events opportunities for 2023!

Viles Arboretum Celebrates It's 40th Anniversary

Many of our members are familiar with our deep history - a confluence of events that took an abandoned farm formerly used by the State Mental Health Hospital to a unique outdoor experience worthy of Statewide notoriety. 

The Economic Impact of Urban Forestry in Maine

A recent study by the Northeast-Midwest State Foresters Alliance highlights the economic impact of urban forestry in states across the Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States. It is difficult to calculate the true value of a tree fully, as their impacts extend far beyond the value of their lumber. In urban communities perhaps one of the most valuable services of trees is air quality improvement.