It’s Autumn at the Arboretum Time at Klehm

Autumn at the Arboretum, a favorite fall event in Rockford, will return as a week-long series of free on-site and virtual activities at Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden this Saturday, Oct. 9 to Friday, Oct. 15. Klehm is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Returning weeklong activities will include the kid’s straw bale maze, a virtual pet costume contest, fall-themed decorative displays and several interactive self-guided activities highlighting trees and plants with fall ornamental interest, including an educational smartphone tour and a smartphone scavenger hunt.

In addition to onsite self-guided activities, two free educational webinars will take place: “The Unexpected Pawpaw Popularity” by Neal Peterson on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. and “Landscaping for Winter” by Carrie Hennessy on Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. These webinars are made possible by the Pauline J. and John R. Cook Lecture Fund.

Autumn at the Arboretum will kick off on Saturday with some new additions. Food and drinks will be available for purchase, including baked goods and coffee drinks from Caffeine Emergency and fresh popped kettle corn from the Kiwanis Club of Rockford. The Rockford Public Library’s Mobile Library will offer book checkouts and fall activities in the parking lot from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Autumn at the Arboretum is made possible by Coleman CPA & Consulting, Inc. and Midland Wealth Management.

So how did Rockford residents come to possess this 155-acre gem with its many rare trees? It began with landscape architect William Lincoln Taylor, who established the land as Rockford Nursery in 1910 and nurtured many experimental plantings that still thrive today.

The Klehm family bought the nursery in 1968 and owned it until 1985. Realizing its botanic value, the Klehms generously donated it to the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District, with the stipulation it be maintained as an arboretum. It has an assortment of plant life unlike any other natural area in the U.S.

Today Klehm operates as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit in partnership with the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County. Its mission is to maintain a living museum for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of all people.
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