When the switch is flipped Dec. 12 at The Arboretum at Penn State, more than a dozen trees decorated by local children will sparkle and twinkle.
More than 300 creations — featuring painted and glittered pine cones, miniature acorn wreaths, snow flakes made of twigs and dough impression ornaments — from about as many children will adorn more than a dozen trees at the arboretum’s first Winter Celebration.
“Everyone is excited about the project, and we can’t wait to visit the arboretum to see our decorations,” said Becky Brigman, a first-grade teacher at Park Forest Elementary School.
About 160 children in first and second grade at Park Forest made ornaments for the celebration, along with about 70 children at The Bennett Family Center at Penn State and about as many at The Child Care Center at Hort Woods.
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The arboretum’s first winter display will feature 13 lighted and decorated Frazier firs and Colorado blue spruces, along with giant wreaths and other holiday decorations. The free event also will vocal performances by The Hi-Los, a Penn State student singing group.
“We’ve never had a winter event before, mainly because of the cold and the weather,” said Kate Reeder, the arboretum’s event and marketing coordinator.
The arboretum’s fountain, which regularly is decorated for the holidays, is being repaired, but the arboretum still wanted to celebrate the season, Reeder said, and if you’re a tree museum and botanical garden, you might as well go with what you know. The event also will help raise awareness of the arboretum’s collection of trees and plants, which are open to the public even during winter.
The holiday display of trees, lights and arts crafted with the magic of young minds will be open to the public during the day through early January, she said. Normally, the arboretum closes at dusk, so the winter celebration is special, she said.
Many of the children and families are excited to see the full display, the teachers and child care professionals said.
“They are looking forward to seeing their hard work displayed and highlighted in one of their favorite places, the arboretum,” said Kimberly Brown, the assistant director at the Bennett Family Center.
They also said the project was a great chance to teach the kids about trees and other natural wonders around them, as well as show them simple crafts.
“We loved everything about the project, from collecting the twigs in our schoolyard to seeing our ornaments take holiday shapes,” Brigman said.