Photo Page: SUMR14 at The Morris Arboretum

SUMR Blog

Photo Page: SUMR14 at The Morris Arboretum

Photography by Hoag Levins and Megan Pellegrino

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  [Click images for larger] Lounging in the 50-foot-high nets (above left) that provide a bird's eye view of a heavily wooded section of the Morris Arboretum are Summer Undergraduate Minority Research (SUMR) scholars Sarah Appeadu, Nehanda Khemet, Karena Taylor, Shamarlon Yates, Siya Ndwandwe and Tyler Chavez. Above right, Arboretum guide Jim Diamond explains the Katsura tree, a 90-foot high, 67-foot wide botanical behemoth imported from Japan in the early 1900s.  
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  Originally created in the 1880s for the personal pleasure of two heirs to a Philadelphia ironworks fortune, the 92-acre Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill was bequeathed to the University of Pennsylvania in the 1930s. Its various gardens are as palatial as they are lush with more than 2,000 different kinds of plants. (See more garden images)  
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  The current exhibit -- "Home Tweet Home" -- features a collection of 29 designer birdhouses by various artists displayed throughout the grounds. Above, left, scholars Tyler Chavez and Siya Ndwandwe take photos of the mansion of a birdhouse on loan from Martha Stewart's home in Bedford, NY. (See more of the birdhouse exhibit). Above, right, along with trees and flowers, the Arboretum is studded throughout with sculpture. Here, Ndwandwe inspects a bronze of Arboretum founder John Morris. In the background are SUMR program coordinator Safa Browne (left) and program director Joanne Levy.  
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  The Arboretum, which supports various botanical and horticultural scientific projects, is also a nature photographer's dream. The panorama of flowers, trees, insects, birds and furry things is a constantly changing landscape of incredible color and variety. (See more flowers)  
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  The Arboretum's permanent "Out on a Limb" exhibit enables visitors to traverse a network of walkways and nets strung through the canope of a dense woods (See more of the structures). One feature is a human-size robin's nest (above, left). Above right, Karena Taylor, Nehanda Khemet, Safa Browne and Sara Appeadu sit on giant robin's eggs.  
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  Khemet tries Out on a Limb's special listening horns (above, left) to hear the often-subtle sounds of the forest and its inhabitants. Above right, scholars relax in the netting system.  
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  Sixteen years ago, the Arboretum decided to try mixing model railroad trains with garden plantings for a new feature called the Garden Railway. It has now become one of the facility's most popular attractions. Bruce Morrell (above, left), the Garden Railway Engineer, maintains his workshop in an open shed at the entrance. Fifteen different train lines cruise a quarter mile of track that winds its way along the walking paths.  
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  All tunnels, bridges, trestles and buildings throughout the Garden Railway grounds are made from natural materials. Some, like this curving trestle (above, right) are two stories high.  
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  The structures are both authentic, like this covered bridge (above, left) and whimsical, like this dragon-shaped castle (above, right). There are more than 60 structures in all, ranging from a miniature version of the Betsy Ross House to a miniature versions of the ornate entrance gate of the Philadelphia Zoo, an Indian palace and Independence Hall.