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by Katelyn Coyle, Children’s Garden Educator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

The Wildlife Tree at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

The Wildlife Tree at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Last year’s  Dominion GardenFest of Lights incorporated a new tradition for Wednesday nights, Crafty Wednesdays! As an educator in the Children’s Garden, I was definitely excited to bring a few of the Children’s Garden’s favorite crafts to GardenFest visitors and families. We kicked off  last season with a spectacular East Meets West theme, and I set off to teach our guests  about origami and paper lanterns.

A close up of an upcoming Crafty Wednesdays project.

A close up of an upcoming Crafty Wednesdays project.

This year, our theme this year is “A Natural Love Affair” and  I am even more excited to bring Crafty Wednesdays to GardenFest.  The Garden has been decked out with birds, bees, butterflies, and flowers. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate this theme then to tie our weekly Crafty Wednesdays activities into our Wildlife Tree, located in the Children’s Garden. I chose to make a few eye-catching and easy-to-make ornaments that would help feed our furry and feathered friends.  I featured these decorations on the tree, which is located by the entrance to the Children’s Garden.

Representatives from Keep Henrico Beautiful and CVWMA shared some clever  craft ideas and fun takeaways.

Representatives from Keep Henrico Beautiful and CVWMA shared some clever craft ideas and fun takeaways.

Last night I looked on as our visitors were crafting away, stringing bits of dried fruit to make a festive feeder for birds and squirrels. Many families took their crafts home so they could enjoy watching the local wildlife enjoy their treats for their own home. A large number of generous visitors also donated their hard work to the Wildlife Tree. When I walked over to the tree this morning, it was full of new decorations. As I looked underneath the tree, I saw the remnants of nibbled on ornaments. Our gifts are being appreciated!

This year, we also partnered with Keep Henrico Beautiful and Central Virginia Waste Management Authority, CVWMAwith bonus craft activities.

Crafty Wednesdays is held from 5-8pm on Wednesday nights during Dominion GardenFest of Lights (except Christmas Day, December 25 and New Year’s Day, January 1).  On Dec. 31st we will have a whole different kind of celebration planned with our New Year’s Eve Family Frolic —  so be sure to check that out. I hope you come visit me Classroom 1 in the Education and Library Complex, across from the trains next Wednesday to make Cheerios heart ornaments.

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