The Arboretum at Penn State

What’s Afoot?

Bellefonte Central Rail Trail Work in Arboretum – 9/20/2018 to 9/25/2018

The Bellefonte Central Rail Trail closure for surface improvements previously scheduled for last week has been rescheduled for Thursday, Sept. 20 through Tuesday, Sept. 25.

Temporary signage and barricades will be in place to alert trail users of the closure and to restrict access to the trail while Glenn O. Hawbaker completes regrading and resurfacing work. If there are any questions, please contact Shari Edelson, the director of horticulture and curator, at 814-865-8080, or the Office of Physical Plant at 814-863-2340.

Summer Photo Contest

Blooms on Esplanade by Aniata Graham - May 2018 (First Place in Spring Photo Contest)

Blooms on Esplanade by Anita Graham – May 2018 (First Place in Spring Photo Contest)

The winners of the summer photo contest will be announced soon!

We look forward to seeing your entries in our autumn photo contest. Please submit photos (one per person, please) in October. Contest winners will be featured in our Seasonal Images album, on Facebook, and on Instagram.

Arboretum Photo Contest Rules 2018



Generous Gifts for Pollinators’ Garden to Fund Construction 

Hummingbird feeding - Photo by Jason Traverse

Hummingbird feeding – Photo by Jason Traverse

Penn State alumnus and leading philanthropist Charles H. “Skip” Smith has made a series of gifts totaling $4.5 million to support construction of a new and enhanced Pollinators’ Garden in the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens. Galen Dreibelbis, a commercial and residential real estate developer, and his wife, Nancy, also recently committed $1 million to support construction of the expanded Pollinators’ Garden. Their gift — together with the major investment by Skip Smith and gifts from other donors — completes the project’s initial fundraising goal. Construction could begin in 2019.

Arboretum T-Shirts For Sale

Men's Crewneck Ginseng Virtual Image (adult sizes only)

Men’s Crewneck Ginseng

The Arboretum is offering T-shirts for sale in several styles. The shirts cost $20 for adults (all designs) and $15 for children (bison, hellbender, and hummingbird only). Please see the descriptions and images of the designs at

Check Out our Spring Newsletter and Volunteer Update!

2018 April Arboretum Newsletter

2018 August Arboretum Volunteer Update

American Goldfinch - Photo by Jason Traverse

American Goldfinch – Photo by Jason Traverse

Gift from Skip Smith and Sons to Create Bird Garden

Charles H. “Skip” Smith, the Penn State alumnus and philanthropist whose giving has fueled the creation and supported the growth of the Arboretum, has made a major new gift to enrich this University resource. Smith and his sons, David, Jeffry and John, have committed more than $1.8 million to launch construction of the Bird Garden in the Arboretum, which will be designed to attract birds year-round and educate the Arboretum’s many visitors. Construction is expected to begin in 2019.

Covey Sculpture by Aurora Robson

Covey Sculpture by Aurora Robson

Gravity Schmavity: Repurposed Plastic Sculpture
(Sculptor: Aurora Robson)

When you visit the gardens this summer, be sure to see the intriguing and whimsical sculptures that comprise the Gravity Schmavity exhibition. Commissioned by the Arboretum and the Palmer Museum of Art, artist Aurora Robson has created three outdoor sculptures from Penn State’s industrial plastic waste. By refashioning discarded materials into delicate sculptures whose shapes evoke natural, organic forms, Robson invites viewers to consider the long-lasting impacts of plastic. Her works will be displayed at three locations in the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens through October 29—the Overlook Pavilion, the Glass House in Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden, and the Poplar Court. Each sculpture is lighted from within by LED lights powered by a solar panel.

Group Visits

If you wish to bring a group to visit the Arboretum, please use our on-line form to inquire about tours and schedule your visit.

Group Visitor Inquiry Form

Upcoming Activities

September 2018 Children’s Garden Calendar

Fall 2018 Gerhold Wildflower Trail Volunteer Days Flyer

Fall 2018 Bird Banding & Bird Walk Schedule

2018 Arboretum Pumpkin Festival

Events Calendar

Pictured at the top of the page is Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ which grows along the Strolling Garden in the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens. The common name is panicle hydrangea.