Around the end of March I was postponing and canceling so many of Awbury’s annual, traditional events. No Spring egg hunt or Adventure-Woods opening, no Thomas Pym Cope Award Dinner, no summer solstice dinner, no Juneteenth celebration, no Camp Katniss….

No. NO. NO.

But then, as June rolled around and we all started reluctantly to acclimate to masks, and to not hugging, and to talking just slightly too loud so that our friends six feet away might understand what we are trying to communicate, NO started turning into YES!

YES to walking in the woods; YES to sitting on the porch in the sunshine; YES to petting goats and tramping through the AdventureWoods once again. Awbury, with its 56 acres of lovely landscape, is able to safely say yes to so many engagements.

Here are the highlights of what we have been able to say a joyful YES to, and what is on the horizon for the next few weeks.

Awbury Ambassadors are welcoming guests every weekend in three key areas, the Cope House porch, the AdventureWoods and The Farm. Between May and August, over 2,500 visitors have said yes to spending the day at the Arboretum. This new program has been a great way to connect with the community and evaluate visitation during the pandemic.

Wellness Series, organized by community volunteer Megan Ambros Nascimento, offers free (donations appreciated!) yoga, afro dance, fitness and zumba classes 4-6 days a week. Students bring their yoga mats and meet outdoors.

Sunday Fun Days, in partnership with the Philly Goat Project, take place every Sunday from 2-5 pm at The Farm. Visitors can meet the goats and chickens, participate in a nature scavenger hunt or family yoga, and more. Activities are being offered for free.

Community Relief Concert Series, in partnership with Weavers Way and Barry Wahrhaftig of Hot Club Philadelphia, consists of seven limited-ticket outdoor concerts featuring local musicians playing to sold-out crowds at the Cope House tented patio. These concerts support musicians struggling with little work during the COVID crisis, and also contribute money to local nonprofits. Awbury will be the beneficiary for the September 27th show.

Family Field Studies—As we are unable to visit schools or to host field trips at the Arboretum since the pandemic took hold in our city, we have started to host ‘family field studies’ exploration stations in the AdventureWoods. For seven Saturdays starting September 5th, guests will be able to explore a nature topic with one of our educators.

Citizen Science Events— Volunteer teacher Julie Kring successfully ran a monarch tagging event at The Farm for about 20 people in early September. We plan to continue to offer programs in monarch tagging, bird counting and bluebird box monitoring. We also will continue to participate in the Philadelphia Fall BioBlitz.

After School Programming—We will be running a six-week after-school wilderness survival program for 8-13-year-olds starting October 6th, in the AdventureWoods.

Citizen Science Events— Volunteer teacher Julie Kring successfully ran a monarch tagging event at The Farm for about 20 people in early September. We plan to continue to offer programs in monarch tagging, bird counting and bluebird box monitoring. We also will continue to participate in the Philadelphia Fall BioBlitz.

After School Programming—We will be running a six-week after-school wilderness survival program for 8-13-year-olds starting October 6th, in the AdventureWoods.