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Have you explored Viles Arboretum in Augusta lately?  If you have never been, have not been recently (or even if you have!), it’s time to add this destination to your must-visit list.  Viles Arboretum, a MaineShare member group, is a free botanical garden in Maine’s capital city. The beautiful site provides visitors with six miles of varied trails, recreational access, event space rentals, a visitor’s center with educational exhibits, and a multitude of events and activities. Recent events have included nature walks, basket making, foraging, and more.  Viles is dedicated to environmental education, making outdoor recreation accessible, and fostering an appreciation for nature. In the summer, the grounds are full of local youth participating in their summer camps. (110 kids this year!) In the winter, the trails are available for seasonal sports such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. And recently, Viles Arboretum unveiled a StoryWalk as part of its trails.

The Viles StoryWalk is a project aimed at local children, and came together through a partnership with Healthy Communities for the Capitol Area. This walk features 18 stations and the stories will rotate, featuring stories by Maine authors as well as stories focused on healthy habits. The StoryWalk is the first of other planned interactive spaces at the Arboretum, and Viles Executive Director Ryan Martin explained that “the StoryWalk® will serve as a gateway to imagination, sparking joy, and curiosity in the hearts of children as they explore the Arboretum.”  Other projects in the works at Viles include a new community agriculture initiative serving food insecure families, innovative climate change research and education, and so much more. Learn more about everything going on here, and make a point to visit Viles Arboretum!