You’re invited to experience Nature at the Arboretum this Saturday

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 5, 2019

By Patricia R. Drackett
Director, The Crosby Arboretum, Mississippi State University
Assistant Extension Professor of Landscape Architecture

Several excellent opportunities to explore the natural world will take place this Saturday, June 8 at the Crosby Arboretum. Two events will be free to the community – a summer gallery opening event from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. featuring drawings by local artist Robin Veerkamp, and an open mic event called “Music Under the Pines” from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

The music event will be held on the Pinecote Pavilion and will feature live music performances by local singers and musicians, appearing in 15-minute time slots. Come see who has dusted off their old guitar that was hiding in the closet! Bring your friends and family out for a great after-dinner activity, and enjoy some delicious homemade baked goods, coffee and tea, and a unique collection of local talent.

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Saturday evening’s music event will also be a rare chance to experience the lovely Pinecote Pavilion illuminated at night. Our annual Bugfest in September is the only other time we hold an evening event. This Saturday, you will enjoy the after-dark stroll back to your car through the forest via the main pathway that will be lighted between the Pavilion and the visitor parking area.

Prior to the late-morning gallery opening, a nature sketching program with Robin Veerkamp will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Learn the basic skills for drawing from nature in this introductory class, which will focus on how to observe and record elements of the natural world that inspire you. Paper and pencils will be provided but you are welcome to bring your sketchbook and favorite drawing pencils. This program is also free if you are an Arboretum member, and only $5 for non-members.

Robin Veerkamp is a fine artist from Picayune, and a longtime member of the art community.  She discovered colored pencils and chalk pastels while attending Mississippi State University, and specializes in drawing architecture, plants, animals and landscapes from original photography.  Most of her images are inspired by the beauty within the Crosby Arboretum, where she worked for over a decade. Robin teaches nature sketching at the Arboretum throughout the year and is a member of the Pearl River County Art League.

Could it be that there are regular readers of this column who have yet to visit the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum? Perhaps you read this this weekly installment because of an interest in landscaping, gardening or the desire to learn more about your local native plants. If you have never visited, please consider this Saturday’s events your invitation to visit!

When out in the local community, we still hear the statement, “I’ve never been to the Arboretum”, or, “I’ve always meant to go there.” But it certainly makes our day when we hear a visitor remark, “I’m so glad I came to visit today, and I can’t believe I waited this long”. So many times we have heard the comment, “I never knew all this was here!”

If you experience this public garden, we hope that you will choose to become a member and make the Arboretum a regular part of your life. What you will discover will certainly serve to enrich your experience of the natural world. Here, you can enjoy the seasonal beauty of our grounds, learn about native plant species, or attend programs focused on native plant species. Gardening and landscaping topics are popular, as are events centered on other aspects of nature, such as hummingbirds, bats, snakes or mushrooms. The summer program calendar will be released shortly.

The intent of the Crosby family, in their planning of the Arboretum in the early 1980’s as a living memorial for local timber pioneer and philanthropist L.O. Crosby Jr., that this public garden would benefit the local community. We do all we can to encourage the public to visit this unique regional Arboretum.

For those of you who have always wondered what we do, please choose to visit us this Saturday, and experience these outdoor events, and enjoy being on the beautiful Pinecote Pavilion, designed by Arkansas architect E. Fay Jones, voted one of the favorite structures of American architects.

Please call the Crosby Arboretum office at 601-799-2311 to sign up for the nature sketching program, or to let us know you will be coming for the Open Mic event (or to confirm you are still coming if you were already signed up for the previous date for this event on May 11, which was rained out.

The Crosby Arboretum is located at 370 Ridge Road in Picayune, at I-59 Exit 4, and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 to 4:30. Leashed pets are welcome.