The sights, smells and sounds of nature are a touchstone for every culture. This month, the Morton Arboretum is inviting people to get back in touch with their roots with a variety of events and programs highlighting Latino cultures and communities, beginning with the Celebración de los Árboles this weekend.
“It’s not just us putting on a festival, it’s us welcoming community members, community partners, who will be a part of that and have been a part of that planning,” said Aarón Siebert-Llera, director of inclusion at Morton Arboretum.
Siebert-Llera said it’s also an opportunity for people from other countries to catch a glimpse of some natural reminders of home amongst the arboretum’s acres.
“Sometimes I’ll have a smell and it will remind me of the smell of driving through the countryside in Mexico between family houses, and that’s something we want people to know, that we do have a lot of trees and plants from around the world that are something they might remember from back home,” Siebert-Llera said.
Plus, he said, it’s simply a great time of year to get outside and enjoy the arboretum’s trails.
“We have 16 miles of hiking trails and I’ve had that moment where I’ve been walking with a group of people and I tell people to stop and just to look up and they look up through … the tree canopy and I hear them go, ‘Wow,’” Siebert-Llera said.
Spanish-language tram tours, birding hikes with bilingual guides, therapy hikes and gardening programs are also on tap for the rest of the month, as well as the opportunity to learn more about the arboretum’s Global Trees conservation program, which is helping scientists and residents in Mexico and Costa Rica conserve endangered oak species.
Ticket and event information is available on the Morton Arboretum website.