PLATTEVILLE — This summer, the Platteville Community Arboretum will be offering eight days of nature activities and outdoor fun for children.
From June 18–21 and June 25–28, the Arboretum will play host to Nature Camp along the Rountree Branch Trail. Sessions will be held from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. starting at the Mound View Park shelter northwest of the Broadway–Madison Street intersection, with activities along the trail and stream.
The Rountree Branch (along which the Arboretum and Trail mainly run) is located near U.S. 151, behind the Platteville Area Chamber of Commerce and several restaurants. The Trail and Arboretum also join the University trail.
Rand Atkinson, program coordinator of the Arboretum, notes that the trail’s branches “go through the entire length of Platteville and [follow] the main branch from in back of Walmart through the university property.” Atkinson said within the reaches of the stream and trail, “there are numerous areas of forest habitat, bird viewing sites, prairie meadows for insect study, and aquatic habitats for exploring and fishing.”
Founded in 2004 by the late David “Doc” Canny, the Arboretum was created “to provide a non-profit, community-based arboretum for the purposes of education, recreation, conservation, and the encouragement of cooperation within the Platteville community,” according to the arboretum’s website. The arboretum has grown in membership to more than 80.
Canny, who died in January 2010, had a vision to provide environmental education to the Platteville community. One of his last ideas was to develop accessible locations for wheelchairs for trout fishing. The Arboretum also exists as a cooperative and partnership between various landowners, businesses, and the community to “work together to manage the lands along the Rountree Branch.”
Children from fourth through sixth grade can learn about nature, stream fishing, geo-caching, plants, and the environment.
One plant they will have the opportunity to learn about is the garlic mustard plant, Alliaria petiolata. Children will also have the opportunity to identify and learn about trees, including their growth and their ecological relationships to native birds and insects.
Cost is $20, and registration is limited to 15 participants. Registration ends June 1.
For more information about the Arboretum, (including their mission and vision statements), the Trail, and conservation, visit www.plattevillearboretum.org.